If you have a kid about to enter college, you’re probably already overwhelmed trying to get them all packed and ready to start their first substantial time away from home.

Although your kids may still seem like your little babies, unfortunately by legal standards they are now adults, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with that official title. Sounds scary, right?

One of the things that happens when your kid turns 18 is that you no longer have complete access to their medical files, per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (or HIPAA). At first glance, that might not seem like a big deal to you. After all, they are adults now and to some extent get to keep their medical history private, even from you.

But what happens if a big “medical episode” happens after they turn 18, say when they are in college? Regardless of whether or not your child is going somewhere close to home or far away, if they are hospitalized and you need to get their medical records, you will be unable to see those records unless they have signed a HIPAA release expressly allowing you to have access to their file. Moreover, if they are in a situation where they are deemed unable to make decisions for themselves, like if they are heavily medicated or in a coma, you are not 100% certain to be able to make medical decisions for them unless they have signed a Medical Power of Attorney authorizing you to be the agent that acts for them. In the same way, it is necessary to get a Power of Attorney so that, if needed, you can make financial decisions for them.

You may think that things like this don’t happen, but a quick Google search will show you that, unfortunately, hospitalizations do happen while students are in college.

If you and your child are ready to sit down with me and discuss getting a Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA release, and a Power of Attorney, give us a call at 214-292-4225 or email us at [email protected].

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