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Personal Representatives

Family groupGenerally, a covered health care provider or health plan must allow your personal representative to inspect and receive a copy of protected health information about you that the covered health care provider or health plan maintains.

A personal representative can be named several ways; state law may affect how a person becomes a personal representative.

The personal representative of a minor child is usually the child’s parent or legal guardian.  State laws may affect guardianship. 

In cases where a custody decree exists, the personal representative is the parent(s) who can make health care decisions for the child under the custody decree.   

If a person can make health care decisions for you using a health care power of attorney, the person is your personal representative.

When an individual dies, the personal representative for the deceased is the executor or administrator of the deceased individual’s estate, or the person who is legally authorized by a court or by state law to act on the behalf of the deceased individual or his estate.

A provider or plan may choose not to treat a person as your personal representative if the provider or plan reasonably believes that the person might endanger you in situations of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect.

For further information on this topic, please refer to 45 C.F.R. § 164.502(g), and OCR’s Frequently Asked Questions.