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Understanding HIPAA Privacy – Know your Rights

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Understanding HIPPA Privacy rights is something that everyone should understand. HIPAA is the acronym for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The goal of HIPAA is to protect your private health information from others who you do not want seeing your records. Overall, protecting your personal medical information is wise, as you certainly don’t want that information out in the public. However, the goal of protection can lead to unintended consequences since no medical professional will reveal your records without this privacy release form.

You have probably seen a HIPAA form, because when you go to the hospital for medical care or visit your doctor, you will be asked to sign a privacy release form. This is to ensure that they can provide enough information to colleagues regarding your care and also to insurance companies to receive payment from them. If a doctor was to give out your information without your permission they could be fined $50,000 for doing so. If the sharing of your information was willful, they could even face prison.

We advise you to have a separate HIPAA form already signed in case you are incapacitated, unconscious, or for some other reason are unable to sign the form.. This will ensure that your family members are able to get information on your condition. You can also give a copy to your family members with their names on it so if you are incapacitated they can give it to the hospital on your behalf and have access to your medical information.

Though the above information about understanding HIPAA Privacy seems like simple common sense, many of us have never given it much thought. Because of this, we recommend having a HIPAA release form signed and kept with your important documents, such as your durable power of attorney and your will.


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