Back-to-school and HIPAA

If you have a child who is away at college, you should be aware that the federal medical privacy rules apply to him or her. Once your child turns 18, the federal HIPAA law says that you can no longer have access to your child's medical information without his or her consent.

That's a problem, because if there's an emergency and your child isn't able to provide consent, you might not be able to access the information you need to make important medical decisions. In fact, if might not even be clear that you have the legal right to make such decisions.

This problem has a simple solution. A health care proxy signed by your child and naming you as healthcare agent and HIPAA agent, will give you the authority to access the medical information needed to make healthcare decisions for your child in an emergency situation, and the authority to make those decisions.