Smart Training welcomes client practices specializing in pediatrics. How does patient privacy regulation apply to minor children?
HIPAA in Pediatrics
HIPAA provides for the use and disclosure of medical records by practices and Business Associates, rights of individuals with respect to their own medical records and information, and responsibilities of covered entities and Business Associates to establish procedures and safeguards to make sure those rules are followed and those rights respected. Under HIPAA, those rights and responsibilities are the same whether the patient is an adult or a child.
HIPAA prohibits “covered entities” (health plans, healthcare providers and healthcare clearinghouses) from using or disclosing an individual’s medical information except for permitted purposes, such as treatment, payment and healthcare operations. Covered entities may cannot legally use or disclose a child’s protected health information (PHI) in any situation in which they may not use or disclose an adult’s.
PHI Rights for Children
Children have the same PHI rights as adults. HIPAA specifically gives individuals, regardless of age, the right to receive a Notice of Privacy Practices describing how and when their PHI may be used or disclosed, the right to access their PHI, and the right to request amendments to their PHI, request special protections and request an accounting of disclosures.
Personal Representative of the Minor
If a parent or guardian serves as the personal representative of a minor child, your office must treat the personal representative as the individual with respect to HIPAA. For example, if you would be required, under HIPAA, to give an adult patient a copy of his or her medical record upon request, the office also would have to give the record to the personal representative upon request. Under Texas law, the parent of a non-emancipated minor generally has the authority to make healthcare decisions for the child. In most situations, this means that the parent is the personal representative.
Need more HIPAA Information?
Check out Smart Training’s HIPAA 101 if you have more questions about HIPAA.