Teenagers and Medical Care – When Is Parental Consent Not Required?
Learning Objectives and CME/Disclosure Information
This activity is intended for healthcare providers delivering care to women and their families.
After completing this activity, the participant should be better able to:
1. Recall that laws and statutes relating to the provision of medical care to minors may vary from state to state 2. Relate which areas of healthcare may generate exemptions due to their importance to the health and well being of adolescents
Estimated time to complete activity: 0.25 hours
Susan J. Gross, MD, FRCSC, FACOG, FACMG
President and CEO, The ObG Project
Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) requires faculty, planners, and others in control of educational content to disclose all their financial relationships with ineligible companies. All identified conflicts of interest (COI) are thoroughly vetted and mitigated according to PIM policy. PIM is committed to providing its learners with high quality accredited continuing education activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of an ineligible company.
The PIM planners and others have nothing to disclose. The OBG Project planners and others have nothing to disclose.
Faculty: Susan J. Gross, MD, receives consulting fees from Cradle Genomics, and has financial interest in The ObG Project, Inc.
Planners and Managers: The PIM planners and managers, Trace Hutchison, PharmD, Samantha Mattiucci, PharmD, CHCP, Judi Smelker-Mitchek, MBA, MSN, RN, and Jan Schultz, MSN, RN, CHCP have nothing to disclose.
Method of Participation and Request for Credit
Fees for participating and receiving CME credit for this activity are as posted on The ObG Project website. During the period from 12/31/2017 through 1/25/2023, participants must read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures and study the educational activity.
If you wish to receive acknowledgment for completing this activity, please complete the post-test and evaluation. Upon registering and successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation, your certificate will be made available immediately.
For Pharmacists: Upon successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation form, transcript information will be sent to the NABP CPE Monitor Service within 4 weeks.
Joint Accreditation Statement
In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and The ObG Project. Postgraduate Institute for Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
Physician Continuing Medical Education
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Continuing Nursing Education
The maximum number of hours awarded for this Continuing Nursing Education activity is 0.2 contact hours.
Adolescents are concerned about confidentiality and sometimes do not seek health care for this reason. Myriad federal and state laws affect confidentiality of medical records in general. However, it is the state that determines the statutes on the rights of minors to consent to healthcare services. Parents must generally consent before medical care is provided to their minor children; however, many states make important exceptions when it comes to sensitive services for which a parental consent requirement might deter an adolescent from obtaining needed care in a timely way. For example, all 50 states and the District of Columbia allow minors age 12 and older to access health care without parental consent for the treatment of STIs. Likewise, certain states and the District of Columbia allow minors to receive contraceptive services without notifying parents. The access to these services helps reduce the transmission of STIs and prevent unplanned pregnancies. In most states, minors themselves may consent for substance abuse treatment, and in about half of the states, they are specifically authorized to consent to outpatient mental healthcare.
Furthermore, minors who may give consent can be divided into to two groups: mature minors and emancipated minors.
A mature minor is an adolescent younger than the age of majority. Such a minor can consent or refuse to consent to medical treatment if it is established that the minor is sufficiently mature to understand, discern and appreciate the benefits and risks of the proposed medical treatment. The age, ability, experience, education, training, and degree of maturity or judgment of the minor, as well as the conduct and demeanor of the minor at the time of the incident involved, all play a role.
To contrast, an emancipated minor is one who is legally free of parental control. A court ruling, marriage or enlistment in the U.S military for active duty are the most common scenarios. A minor who becomes a parent becomes the decision maker for the child.
Care of mature and emancipated minors is provided without parental consent or notification, although the physician will frequently work with the adolescent to involve parents in decision making, risk reduction, and ongoing health care. Of note, both mature and emancipated minors must still follow state laws on age-restricted activities such as voting and purchasing alcohol.
Health care providers should therefore be familiar with the regulations in their state of practice as minor consent laws vary between states. Institutions should be well-versed in state law to determine the degree of disclosure to parents/guardians that is permitted and/or required. If state law is not explicit, then institutions or individual providers should establish firm policies regarding the degree of confidentiality.
It is vital (and parents or guardians and adolescents should be informed, both separately and together) that the information each of them shares with the health care provider will be treated as confidential, and of any restrictions to the confidential nature of the relationship. Lastly, electronic health record systems need to be reviewed and possibly customized to accommodate the confidentiality needs related to minor adolescents and comply with the requirements of state and federal laws.
You can find a table with the state-by-state overview, broken down by contraceptive, STI, prenatal, adoption and abortion services at the Guttmacher Institute link below in ‘Learn More – Primary Sources’.
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Disclosure of Unlabeled Use
This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.
The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.
Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information
presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.
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