Many people are aware that their personal healthcare information is generally made confidential by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). Despite the privacy protections of the Act, physicians and other healthcare workers are authorized to make certain disclosures concerning a patient’s healthcare without the patient’s authorization. For example, in emergency situations, in the absence of prior express authorization by the patient, a physician may share a patient’s protected health information with a patient’s family members, relatives, friends, or other persons when, in the professional judgment of the physician, doing so would be in the patient’s best interests.
Executing a HIPAA Authorization allows you to designate in advance the people you want to have access to your medical information. This takes discretion and professional judgment out of the equation. While most healthcare workers will try and do what is right for their patients, during the present pandemic, when healthcare resources are stretched to the limit and visitors are being prevented from seeing their loved ones who have been hospitalized, leaving to chance who your healthcare providers will talk to about your condition is risky and unnecessary. The better course is to designate who you want to have access to your medical information in advance, a simple but often neglected practice.
Contact the Law Office of Brandon L. Campbell for help in planning through the pandemic.