Watching your child leave home for the first time can be difficult. Not only are there all of the emotional issues attached to dropping your child off at the dorms, there is also the reality of all the legal changes that are likely happening at the same time. You may always think of your children as your babies, but the law sees your children very differently once they turn 18. Namely, since your children are no longer legally minors, the HIPAA privacy rule now applies to your child's medical records. This amounts to a major legal change which could prevent you, as a parent, from knowing that your children are in the hospital in the event of a major medical issue.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA is an acronym for the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,” and has been law since 1996. HIPAA covers many aspects related to medical documentation, and protects the confidentiality of medical records. Essentially, the idea behind HIPAA is to prevent medical providers from releasing sensitive information about patients without the permission of the patient.
How does this impact my college student?
Assuming that your child is 18 or will turn 18 at college, this means that you, as the parent, will no longer have the access to your child's medical documentation that you once had. If there is an emergency where your child is medically incapacitated, you may not be able to get timely information about the situation. Of course, a hospital does have a level of discretion when it comes to giving out information to a patient's family members. However, legally the hospital does not have to give third parties any information about their patients. It is very common for hospitals to refuse to even tell parents if their child is a patient at their institution, particularly if the parents are calling over the phone.
What can I do to ensure I know if my child needs medical attention?
In order to ensure that you have timely access to your child's information in case of emergency, AmeriEstate offers the “In Case of Emergency” or “ICE” enrollment card in conjunction with DocuBank. Signing up for the ICE enrollment card provides your child with a specific card that will note vital medical information, like allergies or chronic conditions. In the event that your child experiences a medical emergency, the information on the ICE card can help medical personnel save your child's life.
In addition to the card providing medical information, it will also provide medical personnel with access to your child's Advance Health Care Directive and a HIPAA release form. This will allow the hospital to give you all vital information about your child's condition without worries regarding your child's privacy concerns. This documentation also names you as Attorney in Fact. With this, you also have the ability to make health care decisions on your child's behalf if necessary.
Protect your child and your peace of mind
Nobody likes to think of the worst-case scenario. However, especially if you are sending your child away for college, preparation is a must. Contact AmeriEstate today to learn more about the ICE card bundled with creation of an Advance Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney for your young adult, as well as other ways we can help you protect your most important asset: family.