If you are confused about when and how to obtain required patient authorizations (release forms) for secured record sharing, you are not alone. Exchanging records with other professionals has gotten much more complex with the advent of the newer technologies. A California group called the State of California Office of Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) has developed a tool to help professionals stay on top of their traditional as well as newer security mandates. Organizing the maze of federal and state laws, their tool is intended to provide simplified decision support for providers seeking to meet security requirements when sharing Protected Health Information (PHI) with other providers or authorized entities.
The CalOHII’s Authorization Tools provide guidance on when patient authorization is needed for the disclosure of health information in California, according to federal and state law. The intent is to guide providers who are exchanging health information electronically, though the rules described also apply to information in paper form.
This tool applies only to healthcare providers as defined by both HIPAA and the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA). While the tool is specific for California providers, it can offer useful assistance to providers anywhere, internationally.
A set of these three tools have been released: substance abuse, mental health and one for a specific group known as the “Lanterman Petris Short (LPS) Act.” They each offer the provider a series of key questions to pose to the client/patient and document carefully before disclosing information to other providers. The tools are free and offered as a service to the community.