Authorizing Release of Child's Medical Records

Parents are generally entitled to access the medical records of their child, but that right is not absolute. In California, where the medical care provided to the child was the type for which the child could have consented for treatment, medical care providers must have an authorization for the disclosure of medical records that is signed by the child. California residents 12 years of age or older can consent to receive treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.  And, minors of various ages can consent to care for family planning, including contraception, HIV/AIDS, some drug and alcohol treatment, and even mental health counseling.

Here in Humboldt County, where family practice providers and community health clinics provide all manner of services to minor patients, records must be reviewed by staff before they are produced to a parent if the child is over the age of 12.  Otherwise, the practice or clinic leaves itself open to violations of patient privacy laws.

The consent laws in California are numerous, and a practice or clinic should seek legal advice if they have any question about the ability of a parent to access a minor child’s records.

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