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Minor vs WA law


1 comment

  • Kathleen Burke

    If the parents are filling out the information in SP, supplying you with an insurance card, paying the bills, and providing the transportation, it's kind of a moot point so check the "minor" box. If the child is coming to you without parental knowledge, don't check the box. Besides, I think the "minor" box is only for SP functionality. It has no bearing on anything else. 

    Also, from my understanding, in the state of Washington, a minor under that age of 18 is never considered and "Adult" by legal definition.  The law to which you refer states that a child between the ages of 13 and 18 does not need his or her parent's consent to be treated for mental health or substance abuse in an outpatient setting. Parents can still have their child evaluated to determine whether they need inpatient mental health treatment without the child's consent, and the child cannot discharge themselves from an inpatient mental health setting without parental consent. If the child was considered an adult, this most certainly would not be the case. The law also does not apply in instances where the child is possibly the victim of abuse, or threatens to harm themself or others. There are also other situations in which the law allows disclosure to parents and other entities as well, which you can look up.

    Where it can get sticky is that HIPPA regulations permit healthcare professionals, or a business associate acting on behalf of a healthcare professionals (e.g., a collection agency), to disclose protected health information as necessary to obtain payment for health care, and HIPAA does not limit to whom such a disclosure may be made. While it limits what can be disclosed, the fact that the individual received mental health treatment would be revealed.

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