HIPAA and Medical Power of Attorney

Q. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule change the way in which a person can grant another person medical power of attorney? 

A. No. Nothing in the Privacy Rule changes the way in which an individual grants another person medical power of attorney. State (or other) law regarding health care powers of attorney continues to apply.  

 Keep in mind: 

  •  A power of attorney that does not include decisions related to health care in its scope would not authorize the holder to exercise the individual’s rights under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, (as well as under state law). 
  • The Privacy Rule does not require you to treat the person with health care power of attorney as your patient’s personal representative if, in the exercise of professional judgment, you believe doing so would endanger your patient (for example, if the patient has been or may be subject to domestic violence, abuse, or neglect by the representative). 
  • The HIPAA Privacy Rule does require you to verify a personal representative’s identity and authority. 

Read more about health information privacy in the U.S. Health and Human Services’ FAQs

Have questions? Contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or knowledge[at]texmed[dot]org

NOTICE: The Texas Medical Association provides this information with the express understanding that 1) no attorney-client relationship exists, 2) neither TMA nor its attorneys are engaged in providing legal advice and 3) that the information is of a general character. This is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. While every effort is made to ensure that content is complete, accurate and timely, TMA cannot guarantee the accuracy and totality of the information contained in this publication and assumes no legal responsibility for loss or damages resulting from the use of this content. You should not rely on this information when dealing with personal legal matters; rather legal advice from retained legal counsel should be sought.


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Last Updated On

March 20, 2024

Originally Published On

February 12, 2013