Provided by: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
December 2, 2021
What are the guidelines when sending refund checks to patients when the patient is deceased?
Thank you in advance.
The first resource that comes to mind is the Office for Civil Rights (HIPAA), and under guidance provided by the Office for Civil Rights you may recognize for communication purposes family of the deceased. https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/1505/how-can-a-covered-entity-determine-whether-a-person-is-a-family-member/index.html. However, acknowledging for communication purposes is not the same as distribution of funds. I would look to your patient forms to see if a guarantor or other financial party is identified other than the patient. If not, you may want to look at another resource, the State Comptroller's office for unclaimed funds. You can issue the credit balance to the State and notice the family of the payment - the family can then claim through the official channel... https://www.osc.state.ny.us/unclaimed-funds/resources/forms-and-publications.