Privacy Officer's Roundtable

Authorization to release medical records (void upon death)

  • 1.  Authorization to release medical records (void upon death)

    Posted 12-09-2019 08:37 AM
    Good morning.

    I am searching for a citation or precedent that declares an 'authorization to release medical records' void upon death. Does an authorization survive death?  I was taught 'no', but I lack a reference.

    I'm not interested in discussing how to access the medical records of a deceased individual.  I'm looking for the legal ground that states, similar to a POA, the authorization document is no longer valid upon death (even if the patient listed an expiration date that has not elapsed).

    Thank you,
    Matt

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    Matthew Mayo
    Grants & Compliance Coordinator/Privacy Officer
    North Florida Medical Centers, Inc.
    Tallahassee,FL
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 2.  RE: Authorization to release medical records (void upon death)

    Posted 12-09-2019 12:39 PM
    I don't recall anything explicit in the regs that would apply to this.   My thought is that since the patient no longer has the ability to revoke the authorization then I'd consider it no longer valid.

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    David Garrison
    Compliance/Privacy Officer
    SEARHC
    Juneau,AK
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 3.  RE: Authorization to release medical records (void upon death)

    Posted 12-09-2019 01:17 PM
    Thank you, David.  I had not thought about it from that angle, but that assessment makes sense.

    Matt

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    Matthew Mayo
    Grants & Compliance Coordinator/Privacy Officer
    North Florida Medical Centers, Inc.
    Tallahassee,FL
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 4.  RE: Authorization to release medical records (void upon death)

    Posted 12-09-2019 05:02 PM
    That makes sense. Thanks David.

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    Carl Russell
    Compliance Analyst, CHPC
    Delta Dental of Idaho
    Boise,ID

    Anything I say is my sole opinion and not of my company.
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 5.  RE: Authorization to release medical records (void upon death)

    Posted 12-10-2019 09:05 AM
    ​What if the authorization was signed by a patient's representative?

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    Rebecca Summey-Lowman, MBA, RDN, CPHRM, CPPS, CHPS
    Senior Risk Consultant
    Curi
    Raleigh, NC
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 6.  RE: Authorization to release medical records (void upon death)

    Posted 12-10-2019 12:28 PM
    My thought is the patient still retains control over their PHI regardless of whether a personal representative signs the authorization (as long as the patient is competent).  I would still say the authorization is no longer valid since the patient can no longer revoke it.

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    David Garrison
    Compliance/Privacy Officer
    SEARHC
    Juneau,AK
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    2020 SCCE Membership