Prior to your agent being able to utilize your Medical Power of Attorney, a doctor must first determine that you are disabled. Doctors are often reluctant to inform the agent of your disability unless he/she has the authorization from you to do so. This is one way in which the HIPAA Authorization & Release comes into play.
The HIPAA Authorization & Release is a part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The purpose of this Act is to attempt to protect the privacy of your personal health information. The Authorization and Release allows the individual you name to receive your health care information if he or she requests it.
Unlike most other estate planning documents, this authorization and release does not expire upon your death. It actually remains in effect for two years from the date of death. The reason behind this is that if your death was related to an accident, injury or medical malpractice, and, as a result, your family files a lawsuit, your agent will have two years in which to obtain your medical records for such litigation.