Rules exist for keiki’s med records

| October 14, 2015 | 0 Comments


Cpl. Angelique Jefferson
Regional Health Command-Pacific
Public Affairs
HONOLULU — As a parent, either biological or a stepparent, one of the most confusing things can be your child’s medical records.

Who has access to them? What are the policies, rules and regulations that cover who can and cannot access a child’s medical records?

Learn guidelines
You may be surprised as to what you find out.

One of the most frustrating parts of a medical professional’s job is dealing with the release of a child’s medical information to divorced parents, parents that are divorcing or parents who are remarried to a person other than that child’s biological parent.

The most recent information on this issue was released from Medical Command on July 1, and it specifically addresses the release of a child’s medical information to biological parents, stepparents or even a primary caregiver, who could potentially be a child’s aunt or uncle or even grandparents.

A child’s medical information includes, but is not limited to, written medical records, verbal disclosures, like office visits, and telephone calls.

A stepparent does not have the same right of access to a minor child’s medical information as a biological parent; however, the biological parent who married the stepparent can give the stepparent a written medical power of attorney (POA) on behalf of the child.

This medical POA enables the stepparent to receive the child’s medical information, oral release of information during appointments or even schedule doctor’s appointments. This is true even if the two original biological parents are divorced and one or both are remarried.

Bottom line
The bottom line is, any new spouse (stepparent) must have a medical POA from the biological parent in order to receive medical information about the stepchild, even if the stepparent is the service member or sponsor.

Of course, like most situations, there could be a special circumstance that arises.
The only time a biological parent can be excluded from receiving his/her own child’s health care information is by a court order. It does not matter if one biological parent has sole custody or physical custody. A court order would have to specifically prohibit the biological parent from receiving a child’s medical information.

Adoption rules
Adoption is another special circumstance that has its own rules.

When a stepparent has legally adopted his/her spouse’s biological child, he/she will then have the same rights to the child’s medical information. The adoption papers should be presented to the clinic only once, at which it then becomes a permanent part of that child’s record.

The matrix listed will give a quick and easy guide as to who has access to a minor’s medical information and who does not. Primary care providers, pediatricians, Emergency Department providers and specialty clinics caring for TRICARE beneficiaries suggest that biological parent(s) give a health care power of attorney to the stepparent, if he/she wants the stepparent to have access to the minor’s medical information.

TAMC contacts
Biological parents who need to get a medical power of attorney are welcome to visit the Tripler Army Medical Center’s Judge  Advocate General Office or call (808) 433-2472 to obtain a medical POA.

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Category: Community, Health

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