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Pediatricians now ask you to sign "release of protected health information to schools" forms

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Basically, this form allows the pediatrician to send otherwise HIPPA-protected health information...LIKE VACCINATION STATUS...to the schools, who can then send it to anyone they damn well please.

 

This is what I was given at yesterday's well-child check-up for my teenager.  It is now apparently standard, and they give this form for you to fill out and sign, with no explanation whatsoever--and they don't tell you that you don't have to fill it out, either.

 

Note the bolded portion (bolding mine):

 

RELEASE OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI) TO SCHOOLS

 

I HEREBY AUTHORIZE _____________(Name of pediatric practice) to release information form the record of 

Patient_____________, Date of Birth ____________ to the following school:

__________________________________________

_______________________________

School Main Phone Number

The records to be released (identify all that apply):

__Immunization Records __Medical Excuse from School __Last Well Child Care Visit Exam

__ Prescribed Medications __Other:________________________________

HIV, Behavioral Health, and Drug and Alcohol Treatment contained in the parts of the record(s) indicated above will be released through the Authorization unless I request otherwise by checking here: __

 

I understand the following:

* My child's health records will not be released to any school unless permission is provided herein as evidenced by my signature below:

*Only those items checked off will be released.  Only under true health care emergencies in which my child's health is at risk, will additional information be released without my authorization.

*The health records released by ________ (pediatrician) may be re-disclosed by the school.  _____(pediatrician), it's staff/employees/physicians have no responsibility or liability for such re-disclosure.

*This Authorization is in effect for a period of 1 year from the date I sign it, unless I revoke my authorization as described below.

*I have the right to revoke this Authorization at any time by sending a written request to _______ (pediatrician) at the following address: __________________________.

*That any decision to revoke this Authorization does not apply to records already released prior to the date of the receipt of my request to revoke the Authorization.

*That ______ (pediatrician) will not condition treatment, payment, enrollment, or eligibility for benefits on whether I sign this authorization or not.

*That I am entitled to a copy of this completed Authorization form.

*That ______(pediatrician) will not fax health information to a school unless there is a true health care emergency.

 

__________________________________      __________________

Parent/Legal Guardian Signature                         Date

 

________________________________________________________
Parent/Legal Guardian Name (Please Print or Type)

post #2 of 15

i'm SO glad my last child graduates next year

post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmy526 View Post

i'm SO glad my last child graduates next year

My youngest will be an 8th grader and my middle child a 10th grader next year, and I am hoping we can get through school without any changes in the vaccine/health laws. I feel bad for those with young children that have yet to get them through school, with this tremendous pressure from vaccine denialists, like Offit, who are trying to get our exemption rights removed.

post #4 of 15

My youngest is 3.5, and I'm dreading this.

post #5 of 15
If I come across a form like that, I just don't intend to sign it.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeckyBird View Post

My youngest is 3.5, and I'm dreading this.

You absolutely have the right to refuse to sign the pediatrician paper.

Honestly, we need to get the ACLU involved here.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitteh View Post

If I come across a form like that, I just don't intend to sign it.

I plan to homeschool but if I can't I'll just do what I usually do ...act dumb . "sure Dr, let me just take this home because my husband doesn't want me to sign things without his knowledge..I'll bring it back next time." then put it in the circular file.

sorry for my atrocious typos , I'm using talk to text .
post #8 of 15

I think you may be misinterpreting the bolded.  Legally speaking, the doctor's office is saying that if the information leaks from the school, it's not their fault.  The school has to follow student privacy laws, and shouldn't be releasing student information without your authorization.  So if you send the school your immunization form, there are laws prohibiting the school from sharing that without your permission.

 

I think the form is badly written, and worth complaining about, but I don't think it authorizes the school to share your child's medical info.

 

Edited to add:  If you are uncomfortable with this form and want to bypass it, you can ask the doctor's office to provide YOU with a copy of the necessary record, and give it to the school at your own discretion.  They don't have to get it straight from the doctor.

post #9 of 15

While I agree, the form is not one I would sign, I don't get the outrage. For a parent that has no problem with their doctor and the school being on the same page when it comes to health issues, vaccination status etc....all it is is a form giving the doc permission to share those records with the school. I agree with Meepycat that the bolded is a typical CYA statement and has nothing to do with the school. It's a standard ROI. Taxi as for your doc not explaining what the form is for - well bad form, but it is up to us as parents to read everything before signing anything and not signing anything we do not feel comfortable with. 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Meepy and Marnica, I think you make very good points, but I see it as a step towards losing confidentiality regarding medical records--and, in light of the fact that in some states, children as young as 12 can now be given certain vaccines without parental permission or knowledge, I do worry that it may also eventually be used as a step towards other vaccines being given in schools, without parental consent, the next time the government decides to announce a (non-existent) pandemic.

 

And no, there is no way the doctor's staff should have handed me that form saying, "here, we need your signature on this."  But from what my friends are telling me, that's what they are all doing.

post #11 of 15
I wouldn't sign, no way no how!
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taximom5 View Post

Meepy and Marnica, I think you make very good points, but I see it as a step towards losing confidentiality regarding medical records--and, in light of the fact that in some states, children as young as 12 can now be given certain vaccines without parental permission or knowledge, I do worry that it may also eventually be used as a step towards other vaccines being given in schools, without parental consent, the next time the government decides to announce a (non-existent) pandemic.

 

And no, there is no way the doctor's staff should have handed me that form saying, "here, we need your signature on this."  But from what my friends are telling me, that's what they are all doing.

 

I don't see this as a step towards losing confidentiality, nor, frankly, do I see it as a step towards the school administering vaccines without letting you know - not because that will never happen, but because that seems to me to be an entirely separate process.  Ovarall, the trend I'm seeing in law these days is towards more confidentiality and privacy.  Every year, more information security is required by law, and more kinds of information are covered.  This is in direct contrast to the overall social trend of personal and consumer information being shared on social media, and social media companies being completely blase about privacy concerns and behaving as though there's no reason you might ever hesitate to share information about everything you've ever thought or purchased. 

 

On the "administering vaccines without letting you know" front, I, on the one hand, object.  My kids are well below twelve, but imagining that they were twelve:  It is not my twelve year-old's job to remember which vaccines are live virus and which aren't, and explain to the school nurse that he can't receive FloNase while I'm receiving Adriamycin chemotherapy.  Nor is it his job to make sure that he tells me he got an MMR, so that if he spikes a fever or has a seizure, I can give the relevant info to the ER.  I'm the parent, these are things that I am supposed to do for him.  On the other hand, I have worked with some young teenagers whose parents are genuinely awful.  There is a wide range of awful parent behavior that puts twelve year-olds at risk but does not motivate CPS to intervene, and those kids very much need to be able to seek health care for themselves. 

 

In the situations that I am aware of where kids receive vaccinations at school, they receive those vaccinations through health care programs provided by the school, and parents have consented to those programs.  For example, the public school system here offers parents the option of having their well-child visits done, during the school day, at school, by a pediatrician contracted by the school.  We don't do this, and I would not recommend it to people who aren't comfortable signing a blanket consent for standard vaccines, but it's a great convenience for those who do, and it helps parents keep their kids enrolled.  IF we were to do this, we would do it by signing a consent form for our child to receive health care through the school, vaxes included, and we would not expect to receive any particular additional info (although I would, frankly, expect a note home that listed the vaxes received at each physical).  There are a bunch of high schools around here that have clinics on-site, and parents can sign (or decline to sign) consents for their children to receive care at the clinic.  If you sign that, you need to be aware that you are consenting for that clinic to provide your child with care in the event of injury, or in the event that your child seeks other health care (like birth control, or the shots coach says you need to have to go to camp), and that the clinic at that point has to follow patient privacy law with regards to your child, and can't inform you unless your child consents to the information sharing.  These programs provide a valuable service, and I don't think they should be shut down.

 

There may be schools that are trying to take advantage of these laws to universally administer flu shots to their entire student bodies, and I think those programs are a massive overreach on the part of the schools, and an extremely bad idea.  I really, really, really do not believe that ROI consent forms are paving the way for those.

 

I don't think that clinic workers should just hand over forms and say "you need to sign this", but I would bet that the people in charge don't think that either.  Honestly, I wonder if that's what's really happening - are you getting full and accurate details from your friends?  Is it possible that clinic workers are saying "if you want us to send reports to school, you need to sign this," or something to that effect? 

 

I think you shouldn't be afraid to spread these forms out and go over them in detail.  The more parents do that, the better written the forms will eventually be.  Five or six parents calling out the material you've bolded and saying that it sounds like you're consenting for the school to share your child's medical info? should be enough to get the clinic staff to tell legal they need a better form.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Great points, Meepy.

 

I actually started to fill out the forms at the pediatrician's office, and only then did I realize what they were.  So I spoke with the office staff there, who were very understanding, once I explained my position, but it was actually difficult to convince them to give me a new form.  They wanted me to turn in the form I'd mistakenly filled out, with a note on the back (it was a 2-sided form) saying I revoked the permission I'd given.

 

I don't think the intention from the ped is to give schools the ability to spread medical info to wherever.  I just think it makes it all too easy to get to that point.

 

And it's very odd, because the primary care provider my husband and I see makes it almost impossible for us to access each other's medical info!  The number of complicated forms we have to fill out, each sign, and have notarized in order to make that happen is ridiculous!  But the pediatric form--check off 3 boxes, sine, and your kid's school can access and pass on everything....

post #14 of 15

Yah, my LO is 18mos and I do not look forward to all of this.  The school I want her to go to is a private Montessori, but it's also a Catholic school, so when we reach that bridge I reall hope we don't get a hard time when it comes to using a religious exemption, but, that said, the public schools here aren't fantastic (only reason we bought the hosue was because there was a Montessori in town) and if push comes to shove, I will homeschool before I vax my kid. And while we were never planning to stay in this town forever I do believe it would push the issue of moving higher up on the to do list.  As it is I've become more uncomfortable about the "waiver" I sign at the pedi to not vax and am really suprised we have not received any harassing calls to sched a well visit since we haven't been since she was 12 mos. 

post #15 of 15
If there is no law that requires u to sign this form, then don't.
Also, I've made it a habit to write "all rights reserved, without prejudice" on all forms, above or below my signature.
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