What Medical Rights Do Minors Have?

Tweens and teens have legal rights to health privacy

Young girl looks up at her father to ask him a question.

Tweens and teens have legal rights to health privacy

Many parents and guardians in California are surprised to learn that when their child turns 12, they have limited access to their child’s medical records. You are still able to view your child’s electronic account, but teen proxy access is different from proxy access for children younger than 12.

Under federal and California law, when minors reach age 12, they have the legal right to health information privacy, which triggers some changes in the health information parents and guardians can view for their child. In compliance with these laws, Scripps restricts the information parents and guardians can view in their teenager’s MyScripps account. In addition, teens (ages 12-17) have the right to discuss their health with their provider in private, without a parent present.

“While Scripps strongly believes in partnering with parents, we also are serious about ensuring that adolescents feel they are able to have private conversations with their physicians and other health care providers,” says Erik Hogen, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Clinic. “This is especially pertinent around certain sensitive services or types of care, such as substance abuse counseling, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and family planning, including birth control.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How can parents or guardians get proxy access?

You can sign up for proxy access online at MyScripps.org. If you already have access to your child’s account, your access will automatically change from full proxy access to teen proxy access upon the child’s 12th birthday.

What are parents and guardians able to do in their teen’s MyScripps account as a proxy?

  • Make appointments (including video visits)
  • Send messages to the health care team
  • Review and refill most prescriptions (sensitive medications are filtered from proxy view)

What are parents and guardians restricted from viewing?

  • Test results
  • Upcoming or past appointments
  • Information about mental health, reproductive health or substance abuse

How can my teen register for a MyScripps account?

Scripps patients age 12 and older can sign up for a MyScripps account during their clinic visit or be issued a MyScripps activation code at the end of their clinic visit. This code will enable your teen to log in and create their own username and password. They may also sign up online at MyScripps.org/MyChart/Signup.

What can teens do with MyScripps?

After enrolling with MyScripps, teen patients (ages 12-17) can sign into the mobile app or website and use the same features as adult patients, including:

  • Join video visits
  • Send messages to their care team
  • View test results
  • Renew prescriptions
  • Review and manage their health record

Can my teen have a video visit?

Your teen needs a MyScripps account to join a video visit with their doctor. However, you can schedule the appointment for them.

Can I see billing information for my teen’s visits?

If you are the guarantor for the visit, you can see billing information by logging into your own account and navigating to Billing Summary. You will not see billing information for visits where your teen was the guarantor or for a teen’s self-pay visits.

How can parents/guardians help ensure exceptional health care for teens?

Scripps encourages parents or guardians to stay close to their teens during this time of transition, answer their questions and provide guidance about their health and changes in their bodies and lives.

Are parents and guardians restricted from access during in-person visits?

California law allows teens to receive some health care services without a parent or guardian present. Health care providers must keep those services confidential, which means clinicians will share information about these visits with parents only if a teen agrees or if the clinician determines that someone is in danger.

By law, health care providers cannot share information about visits related to:

  • The prevention and treatment of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections
  • The diagnoses and treatment of sexual and physical abuse
  • Care and counseling for drug and alcohol problems

What can be expected during a teen’s medical appointment?

Some areas of teen health that may be discussed during an exam include:

  • Healthy eating and staying physically active
  • Fighting and violence
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Safety and driving
  • Smoking, drinking and drug use
  • Sadness and stress

Scripps encourages teens to talk about their health with their parents or guardians, but some adolescents may feel uncomfortable having an exam or discussing certain topics in front of their parents or guardians. All teens deserve a chance to discuss issues privately with their doctors. To respect this right, health care providers may ask parents or guardians to wait outside of the exam room.

What if I need full access to my teen’s account?

If your child has diminished capacity and you need full access to their chart, you can request Diminished Capacity Adult-to-Minor proxy access. With specific diagnoses or approval from your treating physician, full access will be granted until they turn 18.

Related tags: