Treatment of Minors without Parental Consent
By Vanessa Mulnix and Jeremy Wale
What are you bound by law to do when a minor presents for healthcare without a parent or legal guardian? Related laws are largely state-specific; however, there are instances for which a majority of states have similar laws.
One example is the provision of prenatal care to minors. Florida, for example, allows “an unwed pregnant minor [to] consent to the performance of medical or surgical care or services relating to her pregnancy—and such consent is valid and binding as if she had achieved majority.”1
Another example is Virginia law, which states that a minor is “deemed an adult for the purpose of consenting to medical or health services required in case of birth control, pregnancy or family planning except for the purpose of sexual sterilization.”2
If your facility provides prenatal services or labor and delivery services, it is helpful to ensure familiarity with your state’s laws regarding these instances of care. You also may be asked to provide alcohol and/or drug abuse treatment for minors. Much like prenatal care, many states allow healthcare providers to provide services to minors for alcohol and/or drug abuse treatment without parental consent. For example, Missouri law states a minor may consent “for himself [sic] in case of pregnancy, but excluding abortions; venereal disease; and drug or substance abuse.”3
Caring for minors is part of many facilities’ services. Applying related state (and federal) law is an important element of your treatment.
1 - Fla. Stat. § 743.065.
2 - Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-2969(E)(2).
3 - Mo. Rev. Stat. § 431.061(4).