Informed consent and medical records privacy for minors

Health care access, confidentiality and privacy

In Oregon, capable adults may make their own decisions about their health care. Capable adults may also access their own health care records, and under most circumstances, may also decide who can access their health records.

Under state and federal law, some minors may make their own decisions about some of their own health care. In some situations, the law requires that a minor’s health records be kept private from his or her parents.

At St. Charles, we believe that informed consent, medical record access and medical record confidentiality are extremely important issues affecting all of our patients.

This page is designed to provide patients under the age of 18 and their parents with information about health care decision making, medical record access and confidentiality.

At age 14:

A capable patient may access mental health, drug or alcohol treatment without parental consent. The minor’s parent may be involved prior to the end of the treatment. If a patient self-consents to mental health treatment, then the medical records of that treatment are confidential and will not be shared with his or her parents.

At age 15:

A capable patient may consent to hospital, medical, surgical or dental treatment, and some optometry services.

At age 16:

A capable patient may donate blood.

At age 18:

A capable patient may consent to his or her own medical treatment, may access his or her own medical records and may decide whether others may access his or her medical records.

At any age:

An emancipated minor and a married minor may consent to his or her own medical treatment, and may keep his or her medical treatment confidential from his or her parents.

Minors of any age may access birth control and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections including HIV. When will a minor’s parent be notified of treatment?

For most health care services, a minor patient’s parents may be advised of the care, diagnosis or treatment without the consent of the minor patient.

For treatment related to a mental or emotional disorder or chemical dependency, the minor’s parents may be involved before the completion of treatment, or sooner if the minor’s condition presents a risk of suicide, or requires inpatient treatment or detoxification.

A minor’s parent will not be informed of treatment in cases where the minor has been sexually abused by the parent. An emancipated or married minor’s parents will not be informed of any treatment, absent the minor’s consent.

Mandatory reporting

Certain circumstances require doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, police officers and some other adults to notify authorities of a minor’s health condition, or of a concern about a minor’s safety.

When will a minor’s parent be able to access the patient’s medical records?

At age 18, patients of St. Charles Health System are granted access to their medical records through the Patient Portal.

To protect minors’ privacy, parents are not granted access to their child’s records electronically. Some medical records are specifically protected from disclosure to a minor’s parents. However, many types of records are not specifically protected. By policy, if a minor requests that certain care remain confidential from his or her parents, St. Charles Health System will attempt to honor that request, within the confines of applicable law.

If you are a minor and you would like to access your own health information, or a parent and would like to access your child's medical records, please contact Health Information Management at 541-706-7784 to complete a request form.

If you have questions, please talk to your provider.