Your daughter is away at college. She has an auto accident, bad flu, or is hurt and doesn’t want to talk about it to you or anyone. How will you obtain information about what happened?
HIPAA was passed by the US Congress almost 20 years ago. It stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act, and it made it a crime to share an adult’s health information with anyone else except in very narrow circumstances. Yet as parents, we want to know what has happened to our daughters and sons. We want the right to a full exchange of information.
A number of years ago, after studying HIPAA and lecturing on it across the US to various groups of lawyers, I wrote what might be called a “Super HIPAA Release.” The goal was to write a release that a parent or spouse could use to obtain otherwise protected health information about their spouse or adult child from any doctor or hospital. Since then, my Super HIPAA Release, has become the standard for literally thousands of lawyers across the country. I have had clients with a very sick family member tell me it was the most important document I prepared. Because it let them get information. Really simple. We all want information about those we love.
I absolutely recommend a super HIPAA release for everyone. Designate who you will to receive your information, but be sure to designate someone.