Kentucky Senate Approves the Children’s Medical Record Access Bill

With HIPAA, parents have the right to access the health records of their minor kids. However, Kentucky legislators would like to ensure that parents could access the complete medical records of their children and stop healthcare companies from keeping information regarding treatment that doesn’t demand parental permission under state legislation.

Representatives Rebecca Raymer (R), Chris Fugate (R), Danny Bentley (R), Michael Lockett (R), and John Hodgson (R) sponsored House Bill 174. The bill includes another section to the existing state law (KRS, Chapter 422) that creates standards and processes for accessing copies of the health records of patients below 18 years old by a parent of the patient or their personal representatives, who are authorized individuals under state law to make medical care decisions for a patient, as long as the disclosure of those information is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Sen. Donald Douglas (R) introduced the bill to the House and explained that although HIPAA recognizes the right of personal representatives or parents to access or get a copy of the health records of their minor kids, that is not always true. If according to all that is stipulated in the HIPAA forms, the decisions are often made by the states or at times the treating physician. Sen. Douglas also mentioned that state rules have set up boundaries for parents. For example, with state law, those under 18 who have particular health conditions may be treated without parental or legal guardian consent. Individuals who are 16 years old can get mental health treatment without parental or legal guardian consent. Sen Douglas does not agree with this setup.

In Kentucky, there are particular health conditions that those under 18 can agree to and there is no need for parental consent, for example, reproductive medical care, when child abuse is alleged, and mental health care (for those over 16 years old). Although the changes to state legislation have gotten strong support from Kentucky legislators, changes are being criticized, particularly by pediatricians. Sen. Karen Berg (D) voted contrary to the amendment. She explained she has talked with pediatricians and the perspective was that they wouldn’t follow the changes when they are passed. This would create a big break in doctor-patient confidentiality about some singular concerns that growing teens at times want and sometimes require secrecy from their parents.

Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D) likewise voted contrary to the bill and stated that parents already got access to the majority of medical records of their children, besides several parts where extra protections were applied, for instance, injuries suffered because of child abuse. Sen. Douglas’ counterargument states that in these instances, healthcare organizations are required to alert the police, and the part of a healthcare organization is to offer a viewpoint and treatment, never to become involved in parenting other people’s kids.

The House of Representatives approved the bill with a vote of 81-15. The Senate approved the bill with a vote of 28-7. The bill is currently with the House.