Health Information Management

Q&A: Access to healthcare information pertaining to a deceased patient

HIM-HIPAA Insider, August 20, 2012

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A: The Privacy Rule does not establish rules for determining the appropriate legal representative for an individual after death. These rules are established by state law, so you will need to follow the hierarchy ­required by the laws of your state. In the case of a minor child, there is generally no will and thus no named executor. In these cases, either parent is considered the child's nearest of kin, as long as parental rights have not been severed by a court of law and no other individual has been appointed the child's legal guardian.

 Editor’s Note: Mary Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, vice president of HIM at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Tex., answered this question, which originally appeared in the August issue of Briefings on HIPAA.



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