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Important Documents for your College Student

November 17, 2021
Imagine your child is away at college and his roommate contacts you to say that your son is in the hospital. In a panic, you contact the hospital to see what has happened only to find out that the doctor cannot release any information to you. What do you do next?
As families begin to gather for the holidays, now might be the time to make sure that health care documents for your student are in place. Eighteen-year-olds are considered adults in the eyes of the law and under the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In the event of a health emergency, a HIPAA Authorization Form is needed in order for your child’s medical information to be shared with a designated agent. A generic version of a HIPAA disclosure can be found at the following link:
A health care directive or durable power of attorney helps protect against the unexpected. It is a document that makes the patient’s wishes known to family members and doctors in the event that they are incapacitated and unable to communicate their decisions. They can even nominate an agent who will make health care decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated. This document is crucial as soon as they reach the age of 18. At that point, parents are no longer able to step in and assist with health care decisions in the event of an emergency. A generic version of a durable power of attorney can be found at the following link:

In the scramble to start college, health care conversations may have landed on the back burner. But now as we gather for some home cooking, it’s a great time to make sure to talk about these issues as a family and prepare your students for anything that may come up.