What to do when your child returns to college after the holidays.

We are all worried about our children and especially what would happen to them if they got a severe case of Covid-19 and needed parental help while away at college.

When your child turned age 18, they became an adult in the eyes of the government.  And, although you may think they are still a kid, they have many rights that come with adulthood.

Your child has the right to privacy.  Under the Health Insurance Portability and  Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) medical providers can not disclose medical information to anybody unless it is specifically allowed by law.  This means that your child would have to give you permission to find out their health status before the child became incapacitated.

Imagine your child is need of immediate care and you are not allowed to participate in urgent medical decisions.

The documents that your child should create are as follows:

  • A HIPAA and CMIA Waiver that allows medical providers to talk to you about your child’s medical condition.
  • An Advance Health Care Directive that allows you to make medical decisions for your incapacitated child.
  • And lastly, a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters that allows you to access their money to pay their bills, allows you to talk to the financial aid department, credit card companies, the hospital, and the landlord about any billing issues.  In addition, it is always smart for an adult (your child) to have a Will.  You can do a free Will and a template is found in the California Probate Code.

Also, it is important that if a severe medical situation occurs, that you are notified right away, and the medical institution and doctors are provided the important documents right away.  There are companies, such as Docubank, that electronically store your child’s important documents and then issue your child an emergency card (about the size of a credit card).  When your child is admitted to the hospital, the nurses will see the card and contact the company.  You are then immediately alerted, and the hospital is quickly provided a copy of all the relevant documents that will allow you to make decisions and find out medical information.

A parent may also want to know about their child’s grades since they care and might be paying the tuition.  There is Federal Law, called Federal Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA), that regulates who can obtain a student’s grades.

Once again, the parent is not allowed to find out unless the child specifically authorizes it in a FERPA waiver.

At Bezaire, Ledwitz and Associates, we can help you with your child’s legal documents.