Can my family members talk to my doctors if I am hospitalized?

Under federal law, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), your medical information is safeguarded and presumed to be completely private.  This means hospitals and physicians are precluded from sharing your medical information with family and friends, unless you have authorized them to do so. Many people wish to keep their medical information private while they have capability, but would want hospitals and physicians to be allowed to talk with designated family members or friends if there was an incapacity or death. This can be authorized by completing appropriate medical directives, including an Advance Health Care Directive, Living Will, and HIPAA Authorization.