Why Your College Student Absolutely Needs a HIPAA Release Form

Why Your College Student Absolutely Needs a HIPAA Release Form

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the after-midnight phone call telling you that your child has been in a serious accident and is in the hospital. Frantic, you prepare to leave to be with your child as you call the hospital to find out what’s going on.

And the nurse at the hospital says she cannot give you any information due to HIPPA regulations.

In the eyes of the law, your college student – the one who texted last week asking how often underwear needed to be washed – is an adult and legally, you cannot get any medical information about your child or make any medical decisions for your child without his or her consent.

That’s why, as you and your student are happily shopping for comforters and shower shoes, you also need to take time out to fill out a HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form, also known as a HIPAA Release form. This form authorizes you to receive information about your child’s health. It’s good to have two copies: one that you send off to college with your student to provide to the school’s clinic or a local doctor and one that you keep on hand at home just in case the original document can’t be found when needed.

You may want to also go ahead and fill out two additional forms.

  • Medical Power of Attorney. This form varies from state to state and is usually associated with aging parents but your college student needs one as well. This form authorizes you to make medical decisions for your child if they aren’t able to do so themselves. In Georgia, the form is a grim affair that requires you and your student to think about all kinds of things you won’t want to think about. But it’s important to get this signed in case the unthinkable happens and your child is incapacitated. You can find the form for your state – and the state where your child will be attending school – here. Fill out both forms to avoid confusion later.
  • You might also consider having your child sign a Durable Power of Attorney. This form allows you to sign financial documents for your child, handle their tax returns and manage more mundane tasks such as car registration. Legal Zoom offers a low-cost option for this form.

Hopefully, you and your child will never need to use this documents. But if a worst-case scenario does come to pass, having these documents on hand will help make a nightmarish situation a little less stressful.

Now, off to buy that comforter!

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5 Comments

  1. August 10, 2016 / 2:24 am

    What an excellent piece of advice! Thankfully, my sons got through education in the UK without me ever having to find out whether we have a similar situation here in the UK. For the sake of parents where you live, I hope lots of them read this. Needs to be shared and shared!

    • Katy
      August 10, 2016 / 5:58 pm

      I didn’t think about these things myself until someone asked me if it was really necessary. Thankfully I didn’t need it last year and hopefully never will. I’m having my grown sons sign one as well.

  2. August 10, 2016 / 11:54 am

    Katy, this is great info–shared on FB and Tweeted. Very timely! My own daughter is moving 4 hours away to start her career and will have State benefits, but she has been on Obama care for four years and used the college medical center. Luckily, no major medical issues. Hope your summer is going well!

    • Katy
      August 10, 2016 / 5:59 pm

      Thanks for sharing Terri! I agree that every parent needs to think about this.

  3. October 1, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    This is information all parents of adult children need to know! Besides the emergency reasons, without authorization, billing issues are difficult to resolve as well! Billing information is “protected information” under HIPAA. You may receive a bill from the hospital ER, the ER physician, the radiologist, the lab, urgent care center or even the college health clinic! None of these “covered entities” can disclose information without your child’s authorization.

    As part of our advocate service, we capture our client’s emergency contact and medical information, along with a HIPAA authorization. We we so surprised by how few parents were aware of the HIPAA privacy rules that we decided to offer a stand alone service available to anyone on our website http://www.college-care-advocates.com

    Students can generate and sign their HIPAA authorization in minutes, right from their smartphone, tablet or computer. As soon as they’re done, a copy gets emailed to them, they can also send a copy to their parents email. The cost of the service is $9.99 when you use coupon code FALL5OFF.

    Whether you use our service or not, do yourself a huge favor and have your adult child sign an authorization. In an emergency, it takes the burden off the medical providers who want to share information but are subject to stiff penalties and fines. It will reduce your stress and anxiety and you will also save yourself a lot of aggravation trying to deal with billing issues!

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