HEALTHeLINK Providers Can Now Access Patient Data for Minors

by Rajiv Leventhal
Healthcare Informatics
January 5, 2017

Providers participating on Western New York’s health information exchange (HIE) — HEALTHeLINK—can now access data for minor patients 10 to 17 years of age.

This new level of access is a result of a change in New York State policy regarding access to patient data through a Qualified Entity (QE) such as HEALTHeLINK. Access to the data for the 10 to 17-year-old patient age group does require a parent or legal guardian signing an affirmative HEALTHeLINK consent form on behalf of the minor patient, the clinical information exchange organization announced this week.

Parents’ consent for children younger than 10 has and will continue to allow access for treating physicians.

“This change in state policy gives parents and legal guardians the peace of mind that their child’s treating pediatrician or specialist will have the most up to date health information,” Dan Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK, said in a statement. “For a child who may see several different physicians, having access to this information will allow for better more efficient care decisions. It is also helpful in those instances when the child’s grandparent or another caregiver brings them for an appointment and they do not have the child’s medical history readily available.”

Porreca added, “Participating providers need to be aware that it is possible that the minor patient’s record may contain sensitive information that is protected under New York State law and may not be re-disclosed to the minor’s parent or guardian without the minor’s written consent.”

These services include, but may not be limited to reproductive health services, mental health or substance use treatment, HIV testing and STD treatment or services consented to by an emancipated minor. An emancipated minor is a legal mechanism by which a minor is freed from control by his or her parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are freed from any and all responsibility toward the child.

Parents or legal guardians can complete the consent process on behalf of their child at a participating HEALTHeLINK provider’s office or download the form at www.wnyhealthelink.com. Currently more than 870,000 adults in Western New York have completed a HEALTHeLINK consent form, officials said.

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