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Minor Privacy Laws

If you treat underage patients in your healthcare practice, read on to understand your HIPAA obligations. The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not violate state laws that specifically address parents` ability to obtain information about the health of minors. For example, whether or not a parent is the personal representative of a minor child, the HIPAA Privacy Policy allows a relevant entity to share a minor child`s protected health information with a parent or grant access to a parent if and to the extent permitted or required by state law. If state law allows access, the HIPAA Privacy Policy does. State laws regarding the privacy rights of minors vary widely. For example, in some states, a child of a certain age, usually in his or her early teens, has the right to object to his or her parents` request for access to the minor`s records. In other states, parents are allowed access to the child`s mental health records, but there may be restrictions – for example, if a court denies access or if the psychologist determines that granting access is detrimental to the juvenile`s mental well-being. Children are particularly vulnerable to online data breaches. As a result, Congress passed the Children`s Online Privacy Protection Act, one of the few federal data protection laws in the United States. Unfortunately, law enforcement often lags behind new technologies, technology mergers and acquisitions, and insufficient FTC action to stop violations.

EPIC advocates for a dedicated agency to fully protect all individuals online and supports comprehensive federal data protection legislation. To understand some of the broader implications, it is useful to know that the entities covered determine what constitutes a set of individual medical records (also known as a designated set of records or DRS). So if a parent or guardian wants access to a minor`s records, they have them (unless state law prevails). Oh, and divorce doesn`t change that ability to get a copy of a minor`s medical record. Generally, a parent or guardian of a minor child is considered what the HIPAA Privacy Policy calls the “personal representative” of the minor child. Under the HIPAA Privacy Policy, a personal representative is authorized to exercise the HIPAA rights of the person they represent on behalf of that person. Therefore, a parent who is a personal representative may exercise a minor`s HIPAA privacy rights with respect to Protected Health Information (PHI) in accordance with state law. All information regulated by FERPA is specifically excluded from the definition of protected health information in HIPAA.28 In general, under FERPA, parents have access to the school records of their unemancipated minor children, including all health information contained in those records.29 Therefore, important questions of interpretation arise when health care is provided in a school health clinic or by a School Nurse. Or when professionals working in a school have in-depth communication about a student`s health. In recent decades, adolescents have had many opportunities to access confidential health services, particularly for issues related to sexual activity, pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), substance abuse and mental health.2 From a clinical and policy perspective, the protection of adolescent confidentiality relies on the recognition that some minors would not receive it. no health care if they could not receive it confidentially.

and that their lack of care would have negative effects on their health and society.3 Delta differs from Target in that it must routinely process minors` data, even if their parents or guardians make the purchase or transaction on their behalf. (Delta requires children`s identifying information to issue a ticket and share relevant information with government agencies.) Processing must take place whenever the minor intends to travel with Delta. U.S. federal and state laws require adult services to take steps to prevent marketing to minors. While none of these laws require a privacy policy, it is helpful to include provisions that reflect these laws in your privacy policy. As mentioned above, parents and guardians of minors usually have the same rights as the minor patient. However, this is not always the case. In August 2002, a new federal rule went into effect that protects the confidentiality of individuals` medical information and records.1 The rule, based on the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), includes important protections for minors, as well as a significant degree of consideration for other laws (state and federal) and the judgment of health care providers. These provisions represent a compromise between divergent views on the importance of parental access to information on the health of minors and the availability of confidential health services for adolescents. Does your website attract or target customers under the age of 18 or under the age of 13? If so, what are you doing to protect their privacy? So if the logic does not apply, but the law does, what do you do? Make sure you understand the full implications of a minor`s privacy rights under HIPAA and your state laws. This means that not only do you need to train and retrain staff in this understanding, but you also need to keep a close eye on your legislator`s activities.

Document disclosures and authorizations and know what your responsibility relates to. In short, if a minor can legally consent to processing without the consent of a parent or guardian, HIPAA recognizes their right to privacy. The most difficult questions in a private medical practice arise when it comes to third-party billing and reimbursement. If the office has regularly sent bills to the home to care for the minor, care must be taken to ensure that the information contained on the invoice does not inadvertently disclose confidential information to the parents. If the minor has health insurance and wants to use it to pay for care, there are additional risks that disclosure will occur through the insurance process when benefit statements are sent to the policyholder, usually a parent. The rule may minimize these risks if minors take the opportunity to request restrictions on disclosure or confidential communications. Ultimately, however, the effective implementation of confidential care of minors in a private medical practice depends on the cooperation of the minor, the doctor and a participating health insurance institution. In this section, you`ll find some examples of how three types of companies have implemented parental controls in their privacy policies and beyond. Nevertheless, mental health confidentiality laws for minors generally mirror those of physical medical treatment. That is, the law assumes that the parents or guardians of a minor patient are his treatment representative. As such, adults are those who consent to the minor`s treatment and have the right to consult the complete medical record.

Finally, school health centers may need to respond to faculty`s suggestions that their records be covered by FERPA instead of HIPAA. This will rarely be the case as long as school health centers or their sponsoring agencies meet the definition of the confidentiality rule as a “covered entity” and center staff take care to enter protected information only into the health center`s records and not into a student`s general educational records, where they would be available to parents under FERPA. Nevertheless, schools and school health centers need procedures to determine which records are subject to the requirements of which laws and what those requirements mean for the use of information with the school. Information about family planning or STD testing at a school health center will almost never be available at school and will only be accessible to parents under certain provisions of state law. Adolescents and the professionals who provide their health care have long expected that if a teenager is allowed to give consent to health care, the information related to it will generally be considered confidential. The wording of the statutes themselves sometimes supports this interpretation. Many minor consent laws contain explicit provisions on the disclosure of information to parents. Some do not allow disclosure without the permission of the minor. Others leave the disclosure decision to the discretion of the physician.

Disclose very few warrants.25 Some minor consent laws are silent on the issue of parental access to information. In these cases, HIPAA gives the provider or health plan discretion to decide whether a parent requesting access should have it, unless the state or other laws address parental access. The decision must be made by a licensed medical practitioner. In addition, personal representatives have the right to exercise other HIPAA privacy rights, such as written permission to disclose PII. The HIPAA Privacy Rule also gives a personal representative the general right to make medical decisions on behalf of the minor.