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What rights does a father have to medical records?

It is vital to have access to your child's medical records in order to make sound decisions with regard to his or her health care needs. According to the Health Care Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA governs the privacy of health information, parents are generally allowed to have access to their children's medical records and that includes the father in most cases.

Under federal law, there are three circumstances in which a parent may not have access to a child's records. First, parents may not be entitled to the records if the minor child was able to consent to the medical on his or her own. If the child receives medical care based on the court's consent, parents might not be able to see the medical records. Third, if the parent consents to provide the minor and his or her health provider with a confidential relationship.

However, even if these situations are present, a father may still be able to get access to his minor child's records. For example, in some situations, state law will supersede federal law in order to maintain a parent's access to records.

In some circumstances, a parent's rights to records could be denied if the medical provider suspects that the minor patient was victimized by domestic violence, neglect or abuse and the child is in danger.

Fathers who believe they are being unlawfully denied access to their children's medical records can assert their paternal rights in court. In some circumstances, the medical records could be denied to them, depending on the law and their circumstance. However, in most cases a typical father will be able to get these documents.

Source: Findlaw, "Father's rights to school and medical records," accessed May. 22, 2015

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