What are the Ohio laws on the rights of children to have access to their medical records?

Understanding Ohio's Medical Record Laws for Minors

In Ohio, the rights of children to access their medical records are governed by a combination of state statutes, federal laws, and regulations that define when and how a minor may have access to their personal health information. The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) particularly addresses the nuances of these rights, balancing the autonomy of minors with parental rights and responsibilities.

Generally, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), patients, including minors, have the right to access their medical records. However, state laws can modify or narrow this right for individuals under 18. According to Ohio law, the right of a child to obtain their medical records depends on several factors including the child's age, the type of medical care received, and whether the minor is legally emancipated.

For most routine medical care cases, parents or legal guardians have the right to access their children's medical records. This is because they are typically responsible for making healthcare decisions for their underage children. However, there are specific situations where minors can consent to medical treatment without parental consent and therefore have exclusive rights to those particular medical records. These exceptions include:

In situations where a minor has the right to consent to treatment, Ohio law typically requires healthcare providers to keep that information confidential from parents unless there is a compelling reason otherwise. For example, if disclosure is necessary to avert a serious threat to health or safety.

Historically, cases like Bellotti v. Baird, which addressed a minor's ability to obtain an abortion without parental consent, demonstrate the ongoing evolution of minors' rights in accessing health care and associated medical records. While this case isn't specific to Ohio, it reflects broader legal trends that have influenced state-level legislation on minors' rights across the United States.

To navigate these complex legal waters in Ohio, it is recommended that both minors and parents consult with legal professionals or healthcare providers familiar with state-specific regulations governing access to medical records.