While we can’t predict the future, having crucial paper work taken care of, will help navigate the medical system with greater ease. So, let’s make it a priority to have our college age students sign these critical documents.
Most parents and children are unaware of the medical and legal consequences that occur on your child’s eighteenth birthday.
Here is the information you need to be informed. Do not let this important task get lost in the shuffle during the chaotic college packing.
If your child is over 18 they are a legal stranger to you
The leading cause of death in young adults are accidents, and over 250,000 Americans between the ages of 18-25 are hospitalized for non lethal injuries each year. The danger is real and not something most parents or children want to think about before college. However, The Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, in essence makes your child a legal stranger to you. As a parent you have no more right to obtain medical information about your child than you would for a stranger on the street. This is also true if your child is on your insurance plan and you pay their medical bills.
Some medical providers will decide to disclose information to you without your child’s permission, if they see it is in the best interest of the patient. However, because of strict HIPAA rules, doctors will often protect patient privacy especially if they do not know you. If your child is at a university out of state, the likelihood that you would know the doctor or hospital is low, which makes it even more likely that the doctors will adhere more strictly to HIPAA rules.
How to protect your family in an emergency
Three forms can help protect your family in case of an emergency.
Keep in mind that if your child is at school out of state, it is important to sign forms for your home state as well as the school’s state.
Once they are signed scan them into your phone, your child’s phone and make sure to save them on your computer.
What forms should you consider?
This form, when signed, allows healthcare providers to disclose your information to the person or people you have specified. You can sign a stand alone HIPAA authorization and this does not need to be witnessed or notarized. If your child does not want to disclose certain medical information they can limit what is disclosed to you. They might limit health related issues concerning sex, mental health or drugs. It does not have to encompass everything and this is a personal decision that your child can make and you can discuss in advance. Obviously, in case of emergency one that is not limited will provide you with the most flexibility and information, so that should be your first choice.
Medical Power of Attorney:
In case your child is incapacitated and unable to make decisions a medical POA allows them to appoint an agent to make these decisions for them. States vary in laws related to medical POAs and often times it is combined with HIPAA authorization. States have different rules regarding the needs for notarization or witnesses. The medical POA goes by other names including durable power of attorney for health care, healthcare power of attorney, or designation of healthcare proxy. It is important to know that this is one type of advanced directive. The other type is a living will, which contains the specifics of your wishes in critical situations with regards to interventions, if you are unable to give them. Some states combine the living will, medical POA and HIPAA authorization in one document.
Durable Power of Attorney:
This form addresses legal and financial concerns. Your child can appoint an agent to act on their behalf if needed. Again, these vary by state so make sure you check the requirements and forms. This comes in handy if your child is abroad and you need to sign a lease on their behalf, wire money from their account, contact an embassy or sign tax returns. Interestingly, it may also allow you access to your child’s grades, something you are not entitled to even if you are paying the tuition (see FERPA below). This is a broad document but stipulations can be put into effect that narrow it such as specifying a date or an event of activation. An alternate should be named as well in case the agent is unable or unwilling to serve.
Be safe not sorry!
We know of many parents that were thankful to have these forms when emergencies required them. I also know the struggles that families without these forms have had to endure, at a time when they least needed additional stress. Even if the emergency is not life threatening, these forms will allow you to speak directly to medical professionals your child has seen on campus and off. Often your child will be navigating the health care system for the first time without you. While this is a growing experience many young people still want to know that their parent can be involved with complex issues such as treatment decisions if they would like them to be. If the school has any specific forms they use, fill these out too.
You want to ensure everything is in order before you child goes off to school.
Join us for our College Signing Day as we help families with vital paperwork & raise critical funds for the Pace Center for Girls.
Signing Package includes:
Durable Power of Attorney and Designation of Healthcare Surrogate.
These legal documents will be executed on sight by our Kendrick Law Group attorneys. Signers will leave with executed documents that day. We will have attorneys and Notary on site.
Special Rate: $100
Payable day of event via CC, check or cash.
Kendrick Law Group will donate proceeds to PACE Center for Girls.
Space is Limited :
Reserve your spot today - Link Event Dates:
Sunday - June 13th - 1pm to 5pm
Wednesday - June 16th - 9am to 5pm
Kendrick Law Group
630 N. Wymore Rd., Suite 370, Maitland, FL 32751
*All parties must present valid photo ID
Hopefully, these documents are something you will never need to use, but you will have peace of mind knowing that you have them just in case.