minor patient policy
Our office strongly encourages all patients under the age of 19 be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who is able to provide consent to treatment(s).
- In the event a parent or legal guardian is unavailable to attend an appointment with the minor patient, our practice will make allowances for verbal consent over the phone.
- If we are unable to obtain consent in person or by phone, the appointment will be rescheduled until consent is obtained.
- Note: Consent must be obtained for every scheduled visit or treatment; it is not enough for consent to be obtained solely on the initial visit.
FAQ Relating to Minor Patients
Generally, a minor is defined as all persons under 19 unless the person marries. Upon marriage, his or her status as a minor ends. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2101
For parents/guardians unable to attend the minor patient’s first visit, please complete the following intake form and ensure the minor brings it to the appointment along with a valid insurance card.
We understand that every family situation is different and we will do our best to accommodate patient requests. Health care providers are entitled to rely on the statements of the parent who presents his or her child for medical care. In the absence of knowledge that any parent’s authority has been taken away by court order, the health care provider should provide the care requested.
In the event of a divorce, separation, or custody decision, should joint custody of a minor be awarded to the parents, both parents are entitled to make medical decisions on behalf of the child. When a dispute arises in such a situation about the type or necessity of medical treatment, either parent is allowed to obtain necessary medical treatment without violating the joint custody order. However, the parenting plan is required to have procedures for making decisions regarding the day-to-day care and control of the child and, when in the best interests of the child, may encourage mutual discussion of major decisions regarding parenting functions, including the child’s health care. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2929(1); § 43-2929(3).
If custody has been awarded to only one parent, the custodial parent has the authority to make all major decisions regarding the minor’s education, health care, and religious upbringing. Typically, if one parent produces a court order awarding custody and sole decision making authority to that parent, the noncustodial parent may not consent to the medical treatment of a minor. Regardless of the custody determinations in a parenting plan, unless parental rights are terminated, both parents have the right to full and equal access to the child’s medical records, and either parent may make emergency decisions affecting the health and safety of the child while the child is in the physical custody of that parent. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-381, § 43-2929(4).
Beyond parents, and those to whom authority has been delegated under a properly executed power of attorney, health care providers may assume that no other party has the authority to authorize health care treatment for a minor. The primary exception to this rule is where a court has awarded legal custody to another party as a guardian of the minor pursuant to the minor’s best interest. Any court-appointed guardian has the power to authorize medical care and treatment for the minor. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-2613(1)(c).