Did you know your child’s health information can be kept from you? Here’s how not to let that happen

HIPAA can allow doctors to withhold information from parents without proper authorization on forms

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As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many parts of the country, there’s arguably never been a better time to ensure you, as a parent, are aware of your rights to information when it comes to your child’s health.

Getting important medical information on college-aged kids was perhaps once thought of as nothing more than a permission slip parents used to sign. On the contrary, they are far more important, and it’s not the parents doing the signing now.

Should there be a medical emergency for a student living on a college campus, medical personnel at hospitals don’t have to disclose to a parent the condition of that student, unless the proper paperwork is signed, even if that student is still under the medical plan of a parent.

Doctors or other medical personnel have the right to withhold information from parents due to the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA.

It is something that many parents and college students don’t know about.

Medical personnel have the right to withhold information if they feel it is in the best interest of the patient, but there is a way for parents to get legal authorization should their college-aged kid have a medical issue.

Students can sign three forms to make sure a parent or other adult can be involved in case of a medical emergency, according to Consumer Reports.

  • HIPAA authorization

A student signing a HIPAA authorization form allows medical personnel to disclose health information to anyone specified, whether it’s a parent or another adult. Students can stipulate not to have certain information disclosed that they want to keep private, such as mental health, drugs or sex.

  • Medical power of attorney

When signing this, a student appoints a person or “agent” to make medical decisions on their behalf, in the event they are in a capacity in which they can’t make decisions for themselves. Forms vary in each state. Some states roll the HIPAA authorization into a medical POA form, while some states require the signature of a witness or notary.

  • Durable power of attorney

Signing one of these forms completely allows a parent or designated agent to handle a student’s business should they become incapacitated or are studying abroad. This allows parents or an agent to sign tax returns, access bank accounts or pay bills. Forms vary by state. If a student chooses this option, it’s imperative that they are designating someone they trust.

To learn more about HIPPA laws, click or tap here.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.