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Monday, May 27, 2024

In light of violent events at Virginia Tech and on other campuses, students and their parents should be aware that if a person is 18 or older, their parents might be unable to obtain medical information about their child, even in an emergency situation. This is because federal law requires physicians and health care facilities to keep a patient's medical information confidential, pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). There are severe penalties for those who violate these provisions.

Once a person turns 18, parents no longer have authority over their child's financial or medical decisions, and they are legally unable to obtain this information without their child's authorization. There is a solution. Young adults can sign powers of attorney, naming those who they would like to have authority to act on their behalf and designations of health care surrogates to obtain medical information and make medical care decisions if they are unable to do so.

For more information and appropriate documentation, you should contact your family attorney or UF Student Legal Services.

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