Department of Human Services
Families First Online Policy Manual
Incapacity – Procedures
MEU RELEASE OF INFORMATION PROCEDURES
The Health Insurance and Portability Act, HIPAA, of 1996 was passed by Congress effective April 11, 2003. This comprehensive Federal regulation is aimed at protecting the confidentiality of our clients’ medical records and health information. Primarily, the privacy rule sets standards which govern the use and disclosure of private health information (PHI), gives clients new privacy rights regarding access to and use of their medical records, and imposes responsibilities on health care providers (doctors, nurses, hospitals, mental health agencies, etc.) and Federal and State agencies that obtain PHI. (Refer to General Administrative Procedures for detailed information on HIPAA.)
The following HIPAA forms can be found on the DHS Intranet and the DHS GroupWise Default Library:
· HIPAA Authorization for Release of Medical/Health Information (English) (HS-2557).
· HIPAA Authorization for Release of Medical/Health Information (Spanish) (HS-2557S).
· HIPAA DHS Privacy Notice (English) (Authorization No. 345711).
· HIPAA DHS Privacy Notice (Spanish) (Authorization No. 345714).
· TDHS HIPAA Authorization for Release of Medical/Health Information to a 3rd Party (English) (HS-2939).
· TDHS HIPAA Authorization for Release of Medical/Health Information to a 3rd Party (Spanish) (HS-2939S).
Protected health information includes:
· Social security number
· Date of birth
· Names of relatives
· Telephone number
· Medical record number
· Health plan number
· Enrollment status/program eligibility data
· Certification/license number
This law requires DHS to maintain the privacy of our applicants and recipients by not releasing their individually identifiable health information and enrollment status to anyone except the applicant/client, unless they provide us written permission, or unless otherwise permitted by HIPAA regulations.
The MEU Incapacity Unit or the local DHS office can make copies of medical/mental health data as long as there is a signed and current (within the last 60 days) 3rd party HIPAA Release of Information form from the client. However, these copies should not be given directly to the client. They should be mailed from the MEU Incapacity Unit or the local DHS office to the client’s lawyer, doctor, or agency (such as DDS) that has requested the information in writing and has sent a signed release form with the proper address to which the information is to be mailed.
It is important to keep a copy of the request letter and signed release in the DHS and/or the MEU case file to serve as evidence regarding confidentiality issues. The client also has a right to request a copy of the information that is released to a 3rd party.