What is a HIPAA authorization form?
A HIPAA authorization form is a crucial form for healthcare providers, their business associates, and any other HIPAA-covered entities.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule instituted specific requirements for all uses and disclosures of health information. These requirements included strict rules for how health information can be disclosed, when it can be shared, and how it can be used.
Violating HIPAA can lead to significant legal and financial penalties for HIPAA-covered organizations. If a healthcare provider or associate needs to share health information about a patient for research or other reasons not covered under HIPAA, an authorization form can help.
The HIPAA guidelines prevent sharing information in many ways unless the patient grants the organization permission.
A HIPAA privacy authorization form is the simplest way to get that permission and keep it on record. A signed HIPAA authorization form protects healthcare organizations from costly legal penalties for actions taken during regular business activities.
What is a HIPAA authorization form used for?
Medical professionals in various fields will structure their HIPAA release of information authorization form differently depending on their exact needs.
However, the purpose of all HIPAA privacy authorization forms is the same: to allow healthcare providers to share health information about their patients in circumstances outside the narrow provisions of HIPAA.
Typical scenarios where sharing private health information requires a HIPAA consent form include:
- Research purposes
- Using patient recoveries in marketing materials
- Helping other family members make health decisions
The connecting thread is that none of these scenarios helps treat or bill the patient whose information is being shared. That’s why the HIPAA release is necessary.
What should a HIPAA authorization form include?
As a legal document, a general HIPAA authorization form needs to include some specific elements:
- A description of what private health information is covered by the form and how it will be shared.
- The identities of the people or groups who will be able to share the information.
- The identities of the people or groups who will be able to request the information.
- Why the information will be shared.
- An expiration date (“None” is a valid expiration date).
- An explanation of the individual’s right to revoke their authorization and any exceptions to that right.
- Any conditions that may apply if the person does or does not sign the form (In most cases, there are no conditions if the person does not sign).
- The potential for information disclosed under the authorization to be subject to re-disclosure by the recipient.
- Necessary legal language for different state release forms and types of treatment.
Should you use a template to create a HIPAA authorization form?
If your organization is required to follow HIPAA rules, then using a template to produce your blank HIPAA authorization form is almost certainly a good idea.
A template provider such as PandaDoc offers access to a content library full of snippets of legally robust text and legally required language.
This makes it easy to put together everything you need for a HIPAA form while still customizing individual fields.
PandaDoc in-depth and fully customizable sample HIPAA consent form can help you streamline your workflow while still generating a legally sound final result.
HIPAA releases should always be drafted with help from your legal team. Because HIPAA documents are intended to protect you from legal liability, they can help you transform a template form into the precise document your organization needs.
Combining a well-designed template and your legal team’s advice will generate a document that you can use for all your future patients.
Do HIPAA privacy authorization forms need to be notarized?
No, HIPAA authorization forms do not need to be notarized. These documents need to be signed by the patient or their caretaker. Still, there is no need for an official witness or notary to confirm their signature.
That allows HIPAA forms to be signed anywhere, anytime, as long as the signature can be verified. Using an e-form provider like PandaDoc can help HIPAA-covered organizations remain in compliance with the privacy rule.
The e-signature functionality is a secure, safe way to capture legal signatures for HIPAA forms.
E-forms remove the need for paper documents and costly mailing and storage solutions while remaining legally binding.
If you want to create a HIPAA authorization form, get started today with PandaDoc’s free, fully customizable template and form sample. You have the power to modify it and use it to make any online HIPAA privacy forms you need moving forward.
Who needs to complete a HIPAA authorization form?
Most people need to complete HIPAA request forms regularly. Many healthcare providers have people sign HIPAA privacy consent documents before they begin treatment.
Whenever a medical professional accepts a new patient, it’s good practice to have them sign a HIPAA release to minimize the risk of legal liability in the future.
Patients may complete the forms themselves if they are competent legal adults. If a patient has a legal caretaker or a power of attorney, that caretaker will need to sign the form for them instead.
Is a HIPAA authorization form the same as a medical consent form?
A medical consent form is not the same thing as a HIPAA privacy authorization form. Medical consent forms cover specific procedures and medical actions a patient will undergo.
A HIPAA privacy form, on the other hand, covers the sharing of medical and health information.
For example, a medical consent form might cover a patient’s consent to removing their wisdom teeth at a particular dental surgical center.
Without a signed HIPAA consent document, that surgical center would not be able to share information about the patient’s surgery with other healthcare providers. The HIPAA form permits sharing the information, not the medical procedure itself.
When must HIPAA authorization be obtained?
A HIPAA authorization must be obtained if a company plans to use the patient’s information for marketing purposes. Other situations where an authorization form may be needed are for research purposes, sale of medical information, disclosure of psychotherapy notes, etc.