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Patient Privacy Laws and College-bound Children


While he is away at college, your child falls ill and is taken to the hospital. You receive a phone call that he has been admitted, but when you ask about his condition, the medical staff informs you that they cannot disclose that information due to patient privacy laws. While this scenario seems like a plot from a medical drama, it can be all too real.


Patient privacy laws can prevent parents from obtaining medical information regarding a child's medical conditions in emergency situations. In such cases, parents may be left with little information about their child's well-being until they arrive at the hospital. For parents, not knowing a child's medical status for hours while traveling to the hospital can become a nightmare.


Advanced planning can alleviate these worries. Parents with college-bound children should discuss with their children the need for creating an Advance Health Care Directive. An Advance Health Care Directive allows a child to designate an agent who may receive information regarding the child's injuries or illnesses, and make medical decisions for the child, while he or she is away at school. Without an Advance Health Care Directive, privacy laws may prevent parents from quickly accessing this important information.


For more information regarding Advance Health Care Directives and planning for college-bound children call our office at (916) 436-5204 or click here to schedule an appointment.

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