There are exceptions!
The law sometimes allows or requires a health care provider to share information about your treatment without your permission. Our site discusses many of these exceptions, but in summary, the exceptions are:
Your parents must be told when you admit yourself for inpatient mental health treatment (you must be 14 or older to agree to inpatient care on your own).
If your parent agrees to inpatient or outpatient treatment, your parent will be able to allow the release of your past mental health records to your current mental health provider and, in some cases, to your primary care provider.
If a health care provider treats you for injuries from a crime, including a sex crime, they must report the crime.
Health care providers in Pennsylvania have to report "child abuse," which includes a range of crimes and conduct that are abuse when committed with or against a person under the age of 18.
Getting Confidential Health Care
In Pennsylvania, you usually have the right to confidential health care if:
The law says you can get that kind of care without your parent's permission; and
You actually do get the care on your own, without getting your parent's permission first.
You can: Ask health care providers whether they will keep your information private.
Your provider can tell you more about when they might have to talk to your parent or another adult about your health and health care.
You can: Get confidential care if your provider agrees you have been or would be at risk for abuse or neglect if your parents found out about the type of medical care you are getting.
Health care providers can always keep information private from a parent if:
It would be in your best interest; and
The provider thinks you have been or would be abused or neglected if your parent found out about the kind of medical care provided.
In these cases, a health care provider can limit your parent's access to and control over your health information.
Disclaimer: Although we update this site on a regular basis, the law in this area changes often, and this site is not intended to provide legal assistance. If you have questions about confidentiality, you should ask your health care provider to explain their confidentiality policy to you.