A great question from Cindy R. in Fort Worth whose daughter had a medical emergency while away at college.

“I got a call that my daughter, who is a freshman at Trinity University, was injured in a car accident and taken to a hospital. As I raced down to San Antonio, I called the hospital to get information on her status. The hospital refused to give me any information. My daughter was okay, but those five hours on the road when I did not know anything about her condition were the longest of my life. How can I make sure in the future I will be able get medical information about my daughter?”

Even When You are Paying for the Insurance and Footing the Medical Bill, You Still Don’t Have Rights to Your College-Age Child’s Medical Information…

Believe it or not, even though you pay all of the bills for your eighteen year old and still do her laundry, in the eyes of the law, she is legally an adult and you have no more rights to her medical information than you would a stranger off the streets. This is true even if your daughter is still on your insurance.

…Unless You Have These Documents

In order to be able to step in when your college-age child needs you most, you should encourage her to execute a HIPAA Release and a Medical Power of Attorney. The HIPAA Release gives medical professionals the authority to talk to you about your child’s medical situation so you can make informed decisions. The Medical Power of Attorney allows you to make medical decisions on your children’s behalf if they are seriously injured.

These documents are relatively inexpensive. For assistance, contact your estate planning attorney.

Make sure both you and your child have copies of these documents. You may also want to consider using an online service such as Legal Vault. Legal Vault stores the documents and provides your child with an emergency access wallet card and a sticker to be placed on your child’s driver’s license to alert healthcare providers of the card and 24/7 access to your child’s medical information and advance directives.

There are lots of things we do to prepare our children for their life as adults. Be sure that being prepared for a medical emergency is top on that list. And laundry. Kids eventually do their own laundry, right?

Have a question or topic that you would like The Law Mother to tackle in an upcoming blog post? Shoot her an email at siobhan@lexmater.com.

Copyright © 2017-2018 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.

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