Medical Privacy Law and Your College-Bound Child

Posted on : Aug 07, 2017 | Filled under : News

Medical Privacy Law and your College Bound Child

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Medical Privacy Law and Your College-Bound Child
A young man goes to college. Two months later he is rushed to the hospital and into the operating room for an emergency appendectomy. His mother calls the hospital in a panic and asks to know what is happening with her son. The hospital says, “I’m sorry; I cannot give you that information.” She says “But I’m his mother!” The response: “That doesn’t matter. For all of our adult patients, we can only give information to those authorized to receive it, and you are not authorized.”

You know about a Power of Attorney for Healthcare (aka healthcare proxy) listing who can make their medical treatment decisions if you are unconscious or incapable of making those decisions. You may not be aware that HIPAA forms, which you must regularly fill out at the doctor’s office when you have appointments, detail who can have access to your medical records.

What most people don’t realize is that their kids need to have these documents in place as soon as they turn 18. At 18 they are legal adults, and no one gets access to their medical records or treatment information without express permission.

To avoid nightmare scenarios, take the following steps:

  1. Ensure you complete the Power of Attorney for Healthcare, listing a trusted person and at least one alternate in case the designee cannot serve. Also, when you update your HIPAA forms with your doctors, they need to include those same trusted people and perhaps other family members as well.
  2. Help to start educating children about financial matters as soon as they are old enough, so that over time they learn about building a budget, the value of compound interest, the cost of long-term debt like a mortgage or lengthy car payment plan, the benefits of regular savings, and the realities of paying for college. Then, as soon as they turn 18, make sure the now-adult children have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare, hopefully naming the parents as their healthcare proxies, and that they fill out the HIPAA forms at their doctor’s office.
  3. When an adult child goes to college, parents should ensure the child fills out a HIPAA form at the Student Health Service and at the hospital in the town, listing the parents and perhaps other trusted family members as people who can have access to medical records.

If the aforementioned young man had these documents in place, his panicked mother would have been given full access to his medical records and the details of his situation. She would also have had the right to make treatment decisions on his behalf while he was unconscious and unable to make them himself.

Especially given the state of our healthcare system, family members need to take control of assuring who has access to medical information and the right to make treatment decisions.

If you know that a someone who has a college-bound adult, now is the perfect time to send them a note or make a quick call reminding them of this important information.

-Amy Florian Corgenius email 8/2/16

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Medical Privacy Law and your College Bound Child     Medical Privacy Law and Your College-Bound Child A young man goes to college. Two months later he is rushed to the hospital and into the operating room for an emergency appendectomy. His mother calls the hospital in a panic...