After my child turns 18, I know I am blocked from seeing any new medical records, unless they give explicit permission. However, does that mean I am blocked from their pediatric medical records?

Their pediatric provider sent me their complete vaccination record for our records, but they are now over 18. Is this a violation of HIPAA? I tried reading the rules and regulations, but I couldn't parse out this situation. If it is a violation, can you point at the regulation?

If it is a violation, I'd like to inform the provider, so they don't continue this mistake.

(To be clear, I have a release, and permission from our adult child, but the provider wouldn't know that.)

1 Answer 1


Late to the party, but I'll answer anyways.

In general, providers have a lot of wiggle room when sharing information with parents, on condition that the patient hasn't explicitly objected despite having opportunity to do so. HIPAA allows the provider to make a judgment call on whether such information can be shared without explicit consent:

Quoting Title 45 § 164.510 :

(i) Obtains the individual's agreement;
(ii) Provides the individual with the opportunity to object to the disclosure, and the individual does not express an objection; or
(iii) Reasonably infers from the circumstances, based the exercise of professional judgment, that the individual does not object to the disclosure.

HHS does discuss disclosure to family members in their FAQ :

A covered entity is permitted to share information with a family member or other person involved in an individual’s care or payment for care as long as the individual does not object.

A parent of a child who has just turned 18 is likely still somewhat involved in the child's care, so, absent either an objection or a reason to believe the child would object if asked, sharing is probably not a violation.

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