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Get These Health Forms Before Your Kids Return to College

Illustration for article titled Get These Health Forms Before Your Kids Return to College

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Back-ish to SchoolBack-ish to SchoolNormally we’re sending kids back into the classroom right about now, but nothing is normal this year. This week we’re exploring ways to help manage our domestic and academic new normals.

As students return to college campuses, many families worry about the lingering threat of coronavirus. While schools are taking steps to keep folks healthy, families should take extra precautions. If your child got sick and wound up in critical condition at the hospital, it could be difficult to get an update on their medical status. Here’s why: According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, aka HIPAA, you may not have access to your child’s medical status once they turn 18.

Fortunately, there are authorization forms that could prevent this issue—and while you’re getting this paperwork in order, there are are few other health forms to consider, as well. Here are a few forms to get before your child returns to college.

HIPAA and FERPA authorizations

Your child may sign a HIPAA authorization to give you access to medical records. According to Money, your child may still choose to keep some parts of their medical records private—like, say, their mental or sexual health.

Something else to know: on-campus medical records fall under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)—so you also may need a second authorization form. You can learn more about the FERPA form—and how it may impact coronavirus records—through this document from the Department of Education.

Advance health care directives

As you gather authorization forms, you should also consider getting advance health care directives for your child. The two most common advance directives are a living will and a medical power of attorney. The living will may include your child’s end-of-life care preferences. The medical power of attorney may allow you to make medical decisions on your child’s behalf if they were incapacitated.

You can download your state’s advance directive form here or you can use an app like MyDirectives, which you can use to store other important health documents, as well. If you have specific questions, you should ask for guidance from a local estate planning attorney.

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