Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Federal HIPAA Law Oversteps Parental Rights

The UNCRC is not the only threat against Parental Rights. In their article Federal HIPAA Law Oversteps Parental Rights, points out how Federal HIPAA laws currently in place are already being used to circumvent a parent's right to information about their own child's health.

They site a case in a which a father took his 13 year old son to the hospital because of a reaction he was having to his perscription medication. The doctor asked the father for permission to test for illegal drug use and the father gave his consent. However, after the tests were completed the doctor would not give the father the results citing the child's right to medical privacy.

While it makes sense that the parent must give consent for all testing for a minor child it makes absolutely no sense that the parent should not then have access to the results of the test. They are the parent and have a right to know everything about the condition of their child, not the mention they are person legally responsible for paying for the test in the first place!

The article then goes on to explain how HIPAA actually gives doctors the power to decide what information they will share with parents. It basically boils down to giving doctors authority that parents should have.

...our federal government has invaded parents rights through the HIPAA regulations—yes, those same regulations that waste millions of pieces of paper every year by requiring that doctors give us pages of tiny print legalese that most Americans have the good sense to simply ignore.

The federal government maintains a website, giving official answers to questions about the implementation of HIPAA. This is what that site says about parental rights:

What right does a minor have under HIPAA to claim his or her own privilege to deny access to records under HIPAA? If the minor does not want parents or others to have access to his or her records, can the provider refuse to provide the records to the parents?

The short answer to this question is that if the health care provider or facility concurs with the minor that the parents should not have access to his or her treatment records, the minor has a good chance of precluding parents from access to the records or granting access to others.

What is the authority for this “short answer”? The official regulations (45 CFR 164.502(g)(3)(ii)(C)—this is the number of the rule for those keeping score at home) say that unless state law requires a doctor to disclose the medical information to the parent, the doctor may unilaterally refuse to give the information to the parent if the doctor’s decision is “in the exercise of professional judgment.” This section is not limited to cases of suspected abuse or neglect. In fact, there is a separate section of the federal regulations which covers such cases.

It is important to see the role that the wishes of the child play in this situation. The question asks whether a child may keep his medical records a secret. But the regulation gives the doctor unilateral control to withhold information from parents. No request from the child is required to trigger the doctor’s power to keep parents in the dark. It is the doctor’s judgment alone that allows him to withhold medical results from parents.

Be sure to read the entire atricle at We must stay vigilant in protecting parental rights before they are taken away. As this article shows the threat from within the US is just as great as the threat from international law. Amending the constitution is the best way to assure that parental rights remain fundamental.

To learn more about what you can do to help protect parental rights visit:


  1. I am a custodial parent who has been denied information about the treatment of my child. I support a revision of privacy laws to support the family, not drive it apart. Parents existed before governments did and carry primary responsibility.

  2. Why does the "system" have so much power to raise our children. Why wouldn't you provide results and Informatom to the Parent so the Parent can help their own child? That's why social service is big business. You can't even raise your own child these days.