Reporting Requirements For Minor Patients
There are many nuances of dealing with minor patients. Some of the complexities and requirements involve compulsory and voluntary reporting requirements. The following guidelines are provided as a reference when dealing with suspected abuse/neglect of a minor patient.
Disclosure of Minor Health Matters to Parents:
Maryland Health General Section 20-102(f) allows licensees to release healthcare information regarding a minor patient to a parent or guardian. The only exception is when there is an issue of abortion. An example is where a licensee treats a 14-year old female and discovers through examination that she is pregnant. The licensee may (and should) report the matter to the parent to ensure optimal healthcare and safety of the minor patient. The failure of a licensee to promptly notify a parent or guardian of a healthcare issue of their child could result in civil and possible criminal liability should physical or psychological harm result from such inaction.
Maryland Family Law Section 5-704 requires a licensee to report knowledge of possible child abuse or neglect to local authorities and to make an oral and written report of the details of the examination and the facts upon which the suspicion of abuse/neglect is based.
The above-mentioned report must contain:
- Name, age and address of the minor
- Name, address of parent, guardian or responsible person
- Whereabouts of the minor
- Nature and extent of suspected abuse/neglect, including evidence or information available at the time, including knowledge of previous instances of abuse/neglect
- Information related to the cause of suspected abuse/neglect
- Identity of any suspected individuals responsible for abuse/neglect