As a Family Caregiver, you are responsible for your senior loved one’s health care needs and that includes having access to their medical records and health information. Because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) obtaining and keeping track of your loved one’s health information can be challenging. Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides many tips for caregivers in order for you to have access to the information you need to care for your loved ones.
Here are common questions and answers that Family Caregivers have in regards to their loved one’s health information.
Can my senior loved one give permission for me to have access to their health information?
Yes. With your loved one’s permission, his or her healthcare provider is allowed to discuss health information with you. This applies to anyone who may be involved with the payment or administration of your loved one’s care. The healthcare provider will ask permission to share any information regarding care or payment of that care and will only do so after receiving consent by the patient.
What happens if my senior loved one is unconscious or unable to give permission to share information?
Healthcare providers are allowed to share any information regarding a patient’s care or payment of care with a direct family member, caregiver or friend that they deem responsible for that information. For example, a surgeon is allowed to share your condition with family members during a surgery while the patient is unconscious. However, a nurse is not allowed to discuss a medical event that has occurred in the past that does not involve your loved one’s current condition.
Does my loved one’s healthcare provider need to have written or documented permission to share information with me?
HIPAA policies do not require a healthcare provider to have written consent in order to share health information with caregivers. However, many do choose to ask for it anyway. Ask your senior loved one’s providers what their policies are to ensure that you are prepared to receive any information, especially in the case of an emergency.
Can I pick up my loved one’s prescription medication for them?
Yes. HIPAA does not prohibit health care providers such as pharmacists from giving prescription medications to caregivers or family members.
These questions are among many you probably have as a Family Caregiver. As your partner in providing your senior loved one with quality at home care, Freudenthal Home Health Services can help you find the answers to more questions, as well as provide services to assist you in the daily tasks involved in caregiving. Contact us today to find out more.