The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as "HIPAA" was created in 1996 to protect the privacy of your health information. Unless you provide a signed release form, health care providers are prohibited from discussing any aspect of your medical information with anyone that is not directly involved in your care (i.e. health care providers, medical staff, etc.) A HIPAA Authorization Form allows health care providers to communicate with persons listed on the form regarding your health information.
Since most college freshmen are 18 when entering school, parents fail to realize that their access to medical information about their child is limited. If their child is in an accident or becomes sick, hospitals and doctors can only provide limited information due to HIPAA regulations. Therefore, it is critical to have your child execute a HIPAA Authorization Form before heading off to college. Make sure that the your child has the original and copies to provide to health care providers in their new city or state. Also make sure that you keep a copy of the document as well.
In addition to a HIPAA Authorization Form, it is also a good idea to have your college freshman execute a Medical Power of Attorney and a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney. The Medical Power of Attorney will allow the "agent" the right to make medical decisions for your child, if the child is unable to make them for himself or herself. The Statutory Durable Power of Attorney will allow parents to enter into contracts on the child's behalf and also allow parents to communicate with the college or university about certain matters. All three documents work together to ensure that parents will have the authority needed to handle any situation that a child may face while living away from home. There is nothing worse than knowing something has happened to your child, but not able to obtain necessary information. Make sure that executing a HIPAA Authorization Form and powers of attorney are part of your college freshman's checklist. To receive a free HIPAA release form, follow this link and provide the requested information.
Charlotte Key is an attorney that focuses on business law, estate planning and probate law.