Your child will need to fill out and sign a patient intake form. This is needed for legal reasons as they are now the ones that must consent to their treatment. This packet will also include a HIPAA consent that will allow us to share their personal health information if they consent to it. This form does not give the parents the ability to consent to or make treatment decisions for their adult child.
When a child turns 18 and their parents need access to their medical records, there is law called HIPAA that will prevent this. While you may still see your 18 year-old child as a child, the law does not and sees them as an adult. Even if your child is still on your insurance and you are paying the health insurance premiums, this does not give you access to their medical records or allows the provider to speak with you regarding their care.
There are ways to ensure that you can be informed and of assistance in a medical emergency to your adult-aged child. Have in place a HIPAA release form 18 & older Annual HIPAA Release and a medical power of attorney.
The HIPAA release or authorization is like a permission slip for the healthcare provider to disclose health information to anyone specified. This can be modified to not allow disclosure of information that relates to sex, mental health, drugs, or other specific details. The HIPAA release form does NOT need to be notarized but does need to be signed. You do not need to pay to have this form completed. The HIPPA release gives the designated party access to the patient’s medical records, it does not give the designated party the right to make medical decisions for the patient.
A Medical Power of Attorney form allows you to make medical decisions on your child’s behalf if they are unable. This form can go by various names including a healthcare power of attorney, designation of a healthcare proxy, or durable power of attorney for healthcare. You can also complete a living will that will address your healthcare power of attorney. This is a legal and not a medical decision and it is always best to refer your questions to a lawyer. This form needs to be notarized or signed in front of two “disinterested” witnesses. There are many different versions of this form and we encourage you to find the one that meets your individual needs.
Have a conversation with your child and explain why this is important, and that it isn’t so that you can snoop into their lives, it is so that they have a trusted person with power who can act in their best interest should a medical emergency arise. This is especially important if they are away at college or have moved out of state. Review the documentation for that state, as it can be different than where you reside. It is important to be familiar with the rules about HIPAA and your 18-year-old child before it becomes a medical necessity.