What are these “must have” items that need to be included on
your child’s college preparation checklist? A healthcare surrogate,
a HIPAA personal representative designation and a living will.
What are these documents and why are they important? A healthcare surrogate
states who your child wants to speak for him or her regarding medical
decisions if he or she can’t speak for themselves due to illness
or injury. A HIPAA personal representative designation states who has
permission to see their medical records and a living will states their
treatment wishes if they are in a medical end of life situation such as
a persistent vegetative state.
Why are these documents important? Because in most states, at age 18 your
kids are legal adults which means you no longer have access to their medical
records. If the worst occurs and your child needs you to step in for them,
if you are not their named healthcare surrogate or HIPAA personal representative,
you may be delayed in assisting them due to medical privacy regulations.
Even though many states allow you to potentially be appointed your child’s
healthcare spokesperson in an emergency, if an emergency occurs, do you
want to be distracted or delayed by red tape and appointment procedures
when simple documents prepared ahead of time could have let you be involved
in their care immediately?
So, although not the most popular item on the college “to do”
list, these documents could very well be the most crucial items not to
let your child leave home without.