It’s August, and many parents are preparing to move their recent high school graduates to college campuses near and far. These college students are now young adults, learning to manage their own time and activities. They are learning to make their own decisions and learning to live independently. Some may be covered under their parents’ health insurance and financially supported by them. But in the midst of a medical emergency, some parents may be shocked surprised to learn that their child’s doctor will not talk to them.
I’ve heard numerous stories from parents, who have learned of an illness or accident involving their 18-year-old son or daughter, and can’t get any information from the doctor or hospital. What right does some hospital bureaucrat have to keep a concerned and anxious parent in the dark about their kid? How serious is it? Should I fly out there right now? What’s HIPAA and what’s the big deal?
Most students may want their parents to know if they are involved in an accident or medical emergency. Despite this, a treating physician or hospital bound by the privacy laws of HIPAA may refuse to provide medical information to a parent without a signed HIPAA Authorization or Medical Power of Attorney (POA). The reason that doctors and hospitals take HIPAA seriously is because violations can lead to fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 per incident, and in some cases, result in jail time.
The Power of Attorney for Health Care (Medical POA) grants access and authority to the parent or agent and may also instruct the agent (and medical providers) about the patient’s wishes regarding matters of life and death. Without a signed HIPAA Authorization, parents may be left in the dark while their child is hospitalized a thousand miles away!
If that new adult is physically or mentally incapacitated, a Property of Attorney for Property (Property POA) will be required for the parent or agent to handle any of the student’s business or financial affairs. Both the HIPAA Authorization and POA’s can be tailored to provide limited authority to extensive authority, depending on the wishes of the student.
Attorney Greg Martucci of Martucci Law counsels principals and agents, recommends and prepares HIPAA Authorizations, along with the Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Property. We are parents of college students, too!
If you want to be kept in the loop while your child is away, call Martucci Law at 630-980-8333 today to schedule your free initial office consultation to learn more about how we can help you.