The sun is shining, it has finally warmed up, and school is almost out. That means it is time for summer activities for the kids. Whether you have your kids headed off to a YMCA summer camp, soccer, tennis, or swimming, it means filling out new emergency contact information for all of your kids’ activities. However, this may give you a false sense of security.

In the event of an emergency, the contact list you provide to the camp counselor or tennis coach lets them know who to contact in the event something happens to your kids. However, what happens in the event that your kids require medical care and you cannot be reached?

Most parents are shocked to learn that just because you provided an emergency contact, it does not mean that person will be able to make medical decisions for your child if they need to. The reason is due to a federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, “HIPAA” for short.

HIPAA protects private medical information by requiring that medical personnel only release medical information to those who have a written authorization to receive it. The law carries with it severe penalties for the unauthorized release of medical information. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services just increased the potential fine to $1.5 million dollars for medical personnel that improperly release medical information.

What that means to you is that unless you have authorized your emergency contacts in writing to receive medical information about your kids and to make decisions for them, medical personnel would be legally barred from discussing the care and treatment of your child with your emergency contacts in the event your child needed medical care.

In order to make sure this never happens to your kids, you should take the time to prepare a written medical power of attorney for each of your children that is compliant with HIPAA. In the medical power of attorney, you can authorize your emergency contacts to not only get access to the information they may need, but to be able to make a decision for your children’s care in an emergency.

For part two of our summer camp guide for parents, click here.

If you would like help preparing a medical power of attorney for your kids to make sure your emergency contacts can make a medical decision for your kids in the event they ever need to, call Maple Grove, MN will, trust, and estate planning attorney Chuck Roulet at (763) 420-5087.

Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker