The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that sets rules about who can look at and receive your health information. It also gives you the right to request a copy of your information, to make sure it is correct and to know who has seen it.
Unless you have provided a signed HIPAA Release Form, your health care providers are prohibited from discussing any aspect of your medical information with anyone who is not directly involved in your care. Signing a release with your estate planning documents ensures your Health Care Surrogate will have access to your medical records and allows them to make an informed decision when you are unable to do so for yourself.
Exceptions to the rule include, but are not limited to, reporting certain injuries to law enforcement officials, reporting child abuse or vulnerable adult abuse, reporting the occurrence of certain diseases to public health officials and complying with court orders and subpoenas.