Under HIPAA, the Privacy rules provides for three situations in which a parent cannot sign an authorization to release medical records (Patient Health Information/PHI). In general, these are circumstances where the child (a minor) is able to make healthcare decisions on their own. Since the parent does not control the decisions in these circumstances, then they also lose control of the PHI related to that care.

1. When a minor is able to consent to treatment for themselves under specific State law.

Example: A State law provides an adolescent the right to obtain mental health treatment without the consent of his or her parent, and the adolescent consents to such treatment without the parent’s consent.

Example: A State law provides an adolescent the right to obtain health treatment pertaining to pregnancy without the consent of his or her parent, and the adolescent consents to such treatment without the parent’s consent.

2. When a court or other law provides the right to make healthcare decisions to someone other than the parents.

Example: A court may establish a court appointed guardian for a minor.

Example: As a result of a custody and/or paternity hearing, the court may establish one parent with full sole and physical custody, and restrict or altogether eliminate the right of access to the other parent.

3. When a parent agrees to a confidential relationship between the child and the physician.

Example: A physician asks for permission from the parent to speak to the patient confidentially and the parent agrees.

In the cases above, it’s important to identify these situations as they happen, so that the record can be flagged. Keeping track of these situations and making sure the record is properly noted with alerts will help prevent an incorrect disclosure in the future. It is equally important to note that these particular examples vary by State, because in every instance you must compare State law to HIPAA and apply the Stringency Test to determine which law would preempt the other if there is a conflict. Additionally, these are just a few examples; many more situations exist with far more complexities. Deep core knowledge of your State law as well as Federal HIPAA law is needed to properly handle these instances.

 

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Record release can be complicated. With Diversified, you get a cost-free expert in medical record release. We securely process thousands of records every week for physicians, healthcare networks, and hospitals across the nation. Let us provide you with the comfort of knowing that your records will be released correctly every time.

 

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