HIPAA/CMIA: When information is subject to HIPAA and CMIA, parents generally have a right to inspect their minor child’s health and mental health records when the parents consented to the care.66 However, there are exceptions. A few such exceptions are listed here:
- Minor Consent: Certain records, such as records related to services minors consented to or could have consented to, are not automatically available to parents.67 For example, records regarding pregnancy or birth control services provided to a minor cannot be disclosed to parents without the minor’s written authorization.68 California Minor Consent Laws lists the rules regarding parent ability to access minor consent related health records.
- Court Order Limiting Access: There may be court orders in place that remove legal custody from a parent or limit the parent’s right to access their child’s health information.
- Discretion of Provider to Withhold Information: Both HIPAA and California law give a health care professional discretion to withhold the child’s health record from the parent where the “health care provider determines that access to the patient records requested . . . would have a detrimental effect on the provider’s professional relationship with the minor patient or the minor’s physical safety or psychological well-being.”69
Depending on the types of services provided by a clinic or provider, other laws also may apply and impact confidentiality rules. It is important to consult legal counsel regarding other applicable laws and exceptions.
FERPA: When health information is part of an education record subject to FERPA, FERPA says that parents of a student under age 18 may access their child’s education record.70 “Parent” includes a parent, guardian or person acting in the role of parent.71 The only exception is if a court order explicitly limits a parent’s right to access the record. In California, each school district is required to have procedures in place to grant requests by parents to access student records. Schools must provide access to student records no later than five business days after the date of the request, not including some school breaks.72 If a school believes the release of information may put a student at risk, then the school should contact school district legal counsel for advice before any release.
HIPAA/CA: If the records are subject to HIPAA and CMIA, the health provider cannot disclose information or share records related to minor consent services provided to the student without obtaining written authorization from the student on a HIPAA/CMIA-compliant authorization form.123
FERPA: If the records are within an education file subject to FERPA, the parent may access the information for students under age 18. Generally, a parent has the right to review their minor child’s education record. FERPA does not obligate the school or school employed health provider to affirmatively notify parents of any services delivered, however. If a provider believes that disclosing records may put a student in danger, the provider should contact legal counsel.