For young adults in a pre-pandemic world, the future was exciting and unknown, with little thought about bad things that might happen. But bad things can happen. COVID-19 has made that very clear. In the state of Georgia, a child becomes a legal adult at the age of eighteen and so consideration must be given to the document necessary to protect their health and future.
If something happens to a young child, the parent or guardian has the legal right to make medical decisions. What most people don’t realize though, is that as soon as someone turns eighteen, under the law, that eighteen year old is an adult.
Under the federal HIPAA privacy laws, health care providers are prohibited from disclosing an adult patient’s private medical information, unless authorized by the court through a legal guardianship, or authorized by the adult in writing. It doesn’t matter if you are a relative, even if you are the mother or father.
In a Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care, an agent is named to make all health care decisions if the injured or ill adult is unable to communicate his wishes, and the agent is authorized under the HIPAA privacy laws to have access to all private medical information.
Without this important legal document, families find themselves in court, filing for guardianship. That process is expensive, delays access to needed medical information, and causes additional distress in a family already going through a difficult time.
The solution is simple. Have him or her sign an Advance Directive for Health Care. Having the document won’t prevent tragedy from happening, but it will enable a young adult to know they will have the protection of those who love them quickly available if it is ever needed.
If you’re looking for an expert to help you plan to protect the young adults you love, then we invite you to contact our office and schedule an appointment today.