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Graduation and the Legal Adult

Posted on: February 25th, 2015

Many things change senior year of high school.  Most significantly for your child, he/she will turn 18 and become a “legal” adult.  Parents know that there is no magic that happens at 18 and your child is no more an adult than they were the week before when they were 17.  Most teen’s turn 18 during their senior year of high school, when the majority of 18-year-olds are still supported by their parents and living at home. While you may still see a child who leaves socks on the floor and forgets to take out the trash.  The law however, makes a VERY large distinction at the magic age of 18, especially in the doctor’s office.

We have all been to the doctor’s office and had to fill out the HIPAA forms, but how many of us really know what that means?  It means that if your 18 year old legal adult has not given you express permission to speak to the doctor or access his/her medical records; you won’t be doing either under any circumstances.  Although you can still be paying for his/her medical insurance.

For everyday life, this doesn’t pose much of a problem.  If there is a health issue, your teen/young adult can verbally authorize the doctor to talk to you and sign a form to give you access to his/her records.

What happens on a bad day, a car accident, boating accident, allergic reaction and your child cannot give verbal permission?  The doctor cannot speak to you regarding your child.  Not his/her condition, medical procedures performed or scheduled, prognosis, or possibly even if you are at the correct hospital!  For any of this information you need to have your child’s express permission.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney and HIPAA Authorization in place can take the fear and frustration out of that bad day.  With these two documents, your teen/young adult will have given you express permission. The doctor will be able to speak with you and you will be able to make important medical decisions regarding your child’s care.

A phone call from the police, hospital or even a roommate saying your child needs help is scary and stressful. A properly executed Healthcare Power of Attorney and HIPAA can prevent scary and stressful from becoming a nightmare.

Every parent’s high school graduation/college preparation checklist must include getting a legal document that, in the event of a medical emergency, will give them the legal authorization to participate in their child’s (legal adult) medical treatment.

Your kids are your life.  This doesn’t change just because the law says they’re an ‘adult.’  I can and will help.  You deserve Peace of Mind.  

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