In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The provisions that concern us are the “privacy” part.
Prevents hospitals and other covered health care providers from sharing your medical files and information, unless you specifically authorize them to do so.
Means that while it may seem natural for you to assume that your spouse, children, or your patient advocate will have access to your medical records in order to make informed decisions about your care, a health care provider may not share your records for fear of violating HIPAA. This can lead to delays in your care.
Signing a HIPAA Designation:
Clearly gives access to your medical records to whomever you wish.
Gives your health care provider the reassurance needed to share your records and information with those you designate, thus allowing them to make informed decisions for you.