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Guideline 2: If in doubt about giving information, get patient authorization.

If you do not know if you should give PHI to a person or organization, ask the patient to sign an authorization form. An authorization form gives you permission to release, or give out, information. Check to see if authorization forms may already be in a patient’s file.


An authorization may look something like the example below:

Authorization to Release Protected Health Information

(Source: HIPAA)


Examples of when you may need an authorization form:

  • If a patient had treatment at another clinic, the patient will need to complete an authorization form so their medical records can be sent to your clinic.
  • If you work are helping to coordinate transportation for a patient’s medical appointments-at your clinic and others-the patient will need to complete an authorization form so they can give you appointment dates and times.

What do you think?

Did you know healthcare providers each have a number?

In 2007, HIPAA added a rule that every doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional use a 10-digit number for all of their healthcare transactions such as submitting claims to insurance companies. The number is called a National Provider Identifier (NPI) and stays with each provider, even when they change jobs or locations.

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