A Patient’s Guide To The HIPAA Privacy Rule

A Patient’s Guide To The HIPAA Privacy Rule: When Health Care Providers May Communicate About You with Your Family, Friends, or Others Involved In Your Care, by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights.

A 3 page PDF document, covering frequently asked questions and answers about when health care providers may communicate with a patient’s family and friends under the federal medical Privacy Law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (known as “HIPAA”). This is a useful document to carry with you to medical appointments, as it clarifies in simple terms that, unless your aging loved one objects, HIPAA does not prevent a doctor or medical provider from sharing pertinent, current medical information about your aging loved one with you as a family caregiver. There still is much misunderstanding of HIPAA among some medical providers, with some of them still reluctant to talk with family caregivers about the medical conditions of the patient, fearing that they might violate the requirements of HIPAA. So, prepare yourself by (i) reading the materials posted in this section about HIPAA, to educate yourself and (ii) suggest to your aging loved one that he or she grant to you a Health Care Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy (or similar document that is used in your loved one’s state), so that you will have this to show if required by certain medical providers in order to gain access to critical medical information about your loved one, which you will need to be an effective caregiver.

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