Just because you are paying the bill don’t assume medical professionals or university staff will discuss what is deemed to be personal information, about your adult child. In the eyes of the law, your child is an adult now and because of state privacy laws, college privacy policies and HIPAA (Health Information Portability Authorization Act) their privacy will be protected. Here are some examples of things you cannot do for your child without the proper legal documents in order.
· You cannot approve or decline medical tests or get specific information about their condition.
· You cannot communicate with University staff to obtain information such as class schedule, list of professors or grades.
· You cannot handle financial affairs with your child’s bank, utility companies or landlords.
If you find this information concerning, then you need to make sure your adult children have executed three very important documents to allow you to help or someone else to help them in time of need.
1. Healthcare Power of Attorney: A legal document that enables an individual to designate another with decisions regarding his or her healthcare and medical treatment. A healthcare power of attorney becomes active when a person is unable to make decisions or consciously communicate intentions regarding treatments.
2. Durable Power of Attorney: A legal document that enables an individual to designate another person, called the attorney-in-fact, to act on his/her behalf, even in the event the individual becomes disabled or incapacitated.
3. HIPAA Authorization Form: This document provides for the release of medical records and permits the authorized person named in the document to talk to their doctor so informed medical decisions can be made.
We have confirmed that the Student Legal Services departments at Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas will help you execute these documents at no additional charge. These are services you are paying for already through your Student Services Fees so please take advantage of them. The links to each University's Student Legal Services websites are below. If your child is not attending one of these schools, contact the Student Legal Services equivalent at their institution and request a list of services they provide.
Student Legal Services:
Texas Tech University: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/sls/services.php
Texas A&M University: http://studentlife.tamu.edu/sls
University of Texas: http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/lss/services.php
The next step is making sure that these documents are ready and available when needed. We encourage students to carry electronic copies of these documents on an ICE “In Case of Emergency” flash drive attached to their keychain. Parents should also have electronic copies available that can be emailed to emergency personnel at any time. We do provide our clients with ICE flash drives to store these documents along with other basic medical information about your child.
Jason McGarraugh, CFP®, MS
This information is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.
Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, and University of Texas are not affiliated with or endorsed by LPL Financial or Your Wealth Guardian.