Frequently Asked Questions

What is a HIPAA Authorization?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all medical providers in the United States to adhere to strict privacy regulations when it comes to disclosing any health information. A HIPAA authorization form is a document signed by an individual over the age of 18, giving medical providers permission to share health information with the people named on the form. Without an authorization, medical providers may not share information. At a minimum, every person over the age of 18 should have an executed HIPAA authorization so that medical providers and disclose information in an emergency. The form does not need to be prepared by a lawyer or even notarized. Learn more:


Why do I need the form in electronic format?

You never know when or where your child will become ill or injured. When they are away at college, they may be treated at a clinic, a hospital emergency room, or in a provider's office. It may be 2am or 4pm when you call for information. Having the authorization form ready to email is the fastest, easiest way to be sure that you can get information quickly. 

Are emailed forms acceptable?

Yes, authorization forms sent electronically are valid!

Aren't HIPAA forms available for free?

Yes! in fact you can download and print a paper copy of our sample form for free here. We don't charge for the form, we charge for the use of our App that enables students who are away from home can easily fill out, sign, and send the form using their smartphone. If cost is a factor, check our Facebook page for discount coupon codes, or contact us and we'll send you one! We feel strongly that every college student should have a HIPAA authorization. We made the process easy and we want it to be affordable for everyone. 

Are your services just for students in the Boston Area?

Our ADVOCATE service is exclusively available in the Greater Boston area where over 250,000 students attend college!  We hope to expand to other cities in the near future. 

Our HIPAA form service is available to any student who is over 18 and will be living in the United States during the year!  Because we generate the authorization form online and email your copies, anyone, anywhere can use our form service!

For example, if your child is an international student, having a signed HIPAA authorization will be the student sign a HIPAA especially helpful if your child becomes ill or is injured and the family wants information.  

HIPAA regulations apply to all health care providers in the United States. Everyone should have a HIPAA authorization to allow medical providers and insurance companies to disclose your information to loved ones in an emergency. 

Do I need an advocate plan?

If you don't have a local contact in Boston, and you are worried about what would happen in an emergency, our plan is perfect for you! You'll have peace of mind knowing that if you need us, we're just a phone call away and your child will have the security of knowing that they won't be left alone in the hospital emergency room.

According to the CDC, one in five college aged people went to the ER in 2014. Campus health services can treat a variety of complaints, but they routinely send students to the hospital ER for things like abdominal pain, allergies, injuries, asthma, diabetes, alcohol intoxication, anxiety and other issues. 

In developing our advocate plan, we consulted extensively with medical professionals from emergency departments who treat college populations. When a student comes in alone, or even with a friend, they often do not absorb information about their condition, treatment options, discharge instructions or the importance of making follow up appointments.

Colleges don't have any way to extend support beyond the campus. Our advocates fill that gap by meeting your child at the hospital, navigating them through the encounter, keeping you informed, and making sure they get back to campus safely. 

My daughter just moved to Boston for grad school and she doesn't really know anybody yet that she could call in an emergency. Can she get the plan?

Yes! Our plan is for any college student who needs us!  

My child has a lot of friends at school who would go to the ER with them if necessary, isn't that the same?

A friend can provide support but most often is not an effective advocate. If your child became ill at home, you would be their advocate. You would not put them in a cab with a friend and send them to the ER!  That's what happens at college. 

Do advocates have any special training or qualifications? Do you do background checks ?

All of our advocates are career heath care professionals.  Most are nurses. Many have been in your situation, worried about what could happen to their child while away at college. We look for compassionate, caring individuals who are great communicators and problem solvers. People who are calm under pressure and put your child first. Many of our employees have worked in hospitals that we cover, so they know their way around the environment. We carefully screen and run background checks on all of our employees and they undergo our competency based training program.

Is this an insurance plan?

No. College Care Advocates is an independent service provider.  We are not part of any insurance plan and we are not affiliated with college health services.  Any college student in the greater Boston area can register. When you need an advocate, we will be there for you. With our Premium option there are no additional charges for our advocate service in an emergency, regardless of the length of time it takes to get discharged from the ER.  

What if I am admitted to the hospital and my family can't get there until the next day or even longer?

We will have an advocate stay with you (as long as the hospital staff allow) and keep your family updated until they can arrive. We won't leave you alone in a hospital!

Is a student covered off campus? 

Yes!  Our plan is not college specific. It is hospital specific. As long as the student seeks care at one of our covered hospitals, we will send an advocate. 

What if my child has cultural or other issues that the medical staff should be aware of?

Boston area hospitals serve patients from all over the world. They do their utmost to respect and honor the different cultures and needs of their patients. That said, having an advocate with your child can help alleviate a stressful situation. The advocate can make the hospital staff aware of any issues on behalf of your child so they don't have to worry. 

What is ICE?  and why should I have it on my phone?

ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. Emergency check for contact information and the cellphone is the first place they look.  Everybody should have a lock screen set that includes this information. 

This article may be helpful in explaining I.C.E

How do I notify you if I need an Advocate?

Call us 24x7 at 800-586-7216 if you are going to the hospital. In an emergency, if you are not able to call us yourself, someone can call on your behalf.  A parent can call us, a roommate, a friend, RA or a first responder.  We encourage all clients to add I.C.E. information to their mobile phones and have College Care Advocates listed there. 

What is a Health Care Proxy and do I need one?

The Health Care Proxy is an optional legal document which allows you to name someone (an "agent") to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make or communicate those decisions. You may download a copy here. College Care Advocates can not be named as your "agent", we do not make health care decisions for Clients.

This document was prepared specifically for use in Massachusetts and is available to our clients through the generosity of "Massachusetts Health Decisions", the nonprofit publisher of the form and educational materials related to the Massachusetts Health Care Proxy.

Why do you only cover certain colleges?

We cover all of the major hospital emergency departments in the Greater Boston area. We provide a list of colleges simply because it is easier to look up your school than it is to find out which ER they use. Emergency responders will always transport to the nearest hospital. We can provide an advocate at any of these major hospital emergency departments in the Greater Boston area. 

Knowing how many clients we have at each college also helps us to have enough advocates available geographically.

What if my child is sent to a hospital other than what their college normally uses?

Our only restriction is that the hospital must be one that we cover. Click here for a list. That's the great thing about having so many world class medical facilities in such a small area! 

What if my child decides they do not want an advocate after they have arrived at the hospital?

The advocate is there to support the client.  The client can dismiss the advocate at any time, for any reason. 

I didn't finish my registration form, how do I get back into it?

From the top of any page on our site, click UPDATE FORMS.  

Still have questions? Contact us.