Do you realize that if your adult child is injured or hospitalized and does not have a HIPAA Healthcare Information Release document in place, the treating physician is prohibited from communicating medical information to you under the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act attempts to provide a high standard of patient privacy that hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers must exercise.
Under HIPAA, as a family member, you are not automatically entitled to medical information pertaining to your 18+ year old child, your spouse, your parents nor others who are important to you if such a document has not been prepared.
Be proactive and make sure each adult family member has executed this document so that any healthcare provider may freely provide your family members with medical information. Before your children leave for college, this should be a priority.
Other important documents to execute include: (1) a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care which appoints an agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself, and (2) a Living Will, which expresses your desires regarding when and how life-sustaining measures should be used in the event that you are unable to make health-care decisions for yourself.