Parent trap -- a weekly HIPAA message

April 29, 2003

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. You will be receiving weekly messages to help you understand the topic and how it impacts your job. Today's HIPAA mesage explores whether parents can be restricted from accessing their minor child's protected health information.

Question:
Can parents be restricted from accessing their minor children's protected health information (PHI)?

Answer:
Yes, for certain circumstances defined by law, a minor child (under the age of 19 in Nebraska and under the age of 18 in Iowa) is permitted to consent on his or her own behalf for health care, and the parent may not have access to this information.

Under Nebraska law, some examples include: consent for sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment; and substance abuse counseling and treatment.

If a parent calls requesting such information, you need to obtain the authorization of the minor child before disclosing it.

picture disc. If you're a manager, please ensure all of your employees are informed of the contents of these messages and how it applies to your work area. Some ways of sharing the information include discussions during staff meetings, printing and posting this message or asking your employees if they have any further questions.