Consent & Confidentiality
As you grow through your teen years, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is to take responsibility for your health care. At Kids Plus, we want to work with you and your parents to help you do just that.
Both Pennsylvania and the United States federal government have laws that govern confidentiality in health care, including confidentiality for teenagers with their health care providers. We can’t, and won’t, reveal confidential health information without the appropriate consent. Until you’re 18 years old, your parents have the primary rights and responsibilities for that consent. Teenagers are, however, allowed to seek and receive medical care for issues related to sexuality, mental health, and drug or alcohol use/abuse without the knowledge or consent of their parents. The only exceptions to these rules are if there are concerns about child abuse, or if you have plans to hurt yourself or someone else. In those circumstances, we’re required to report the concerns to the appropriate authorities.
At Kids Plus, we believe you get the best care when we can work together with you and your parents. But we also recognize that might sometimes be difficult for you. And we understand both the importance of, and the legal responsibilities of, maintaining your confidentiality.
We want you to feel confident that you can talk with our providers about ANYTHING, and that we will keep your confidentiality. We can keep portions of your record completely confidential, so that only you and your providers can see it. We also, of course, want your parents to know that we understand their love and concern for you, so we’ll always talk with you about how best to bring your parents into the discussion, and how to help them be a part of your health care needs. The final decision about that will be yours, but when we work together, your parents will usually be more understanding and supportive than you think!
After You Turn 18
Once you turn 18, you’re legally an adult, and the rights to consent and full confidentiality become completely yours. This means that without your consent, we can’t talk with your parents about your health at all, and they no longer have access to your records (on paper, or through your Patient Portal account) without your consent. For most young adults, however, it’s still really helpful to have your parents help you manage your health care, so we’ll ask you to sign a consent form that tells us what things we may or may not talk about with your parents, and what information they may or may not see on your Patient Portal account. Your Patient Portal account access will become yours, not your parents’.
When you come to the office, you may have a co-pay, but your health insurance is billed to pay for most of the cost of the visit. Since your health insurance is probably paid for by your parents (allowed now up to age 26), they will probably see that bill, and they will probably ask you about it! This is a strange disconnect between the worlds of health care finance and actual patient care. Most people receive those notices electronically, so you can’t just plan to intercept the mail. If you have insurance, we’re not allowed to have you just pay out of pocket, so if you do not want your parents even to see a bill, we can refer you to a health care facility that provides free care through grant funding. Talk with your provider if you have concerns about how your visit will be billed.
Your teen years are exciting and complicated in many ways. At Kids Plus, we want to work with you and your parents to help you successfully manage your own health care needs as you head into adulthood.
For more about how we’ll help manage your care when you go away to college, see our Long Distance Care page.
Print and/or download our Young Adult Long Distance Care Form.
(You can complete this form before your visit.)
See a sample copy of our Young Adult Release & Consent Form.
(This form must be completed in the office, during your visit.)