Parent Letter on Adolescent Privacy

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Because laws about confidentiality and minors’ consent for health services vary from state to state and clinicians’ communication styles vary, clinicians’ correspondence and conversations about privacy issues will necessarily vary from setting to setting. Following is a sample letter to parents of an adolescent developed for a particular practice that may be adapted to meet other practices’ needs, in accordance with their state’s laws addressing confidentiality and consent:

Congratulations! Your child has recently reached adolescence—an age when mental, physical, and hormonal changes have started to occur even if they are not yet visible. This means that adolescents are no longer children, so we believe they require a different approach to their care. To respond to the changing health care needs of adolescents, we have the following guidelines:

  1. Your adolescent will now have an opportunity to speak with the doctor alone. We will encourage them to share their health concerns with you, but will allow your adolescent some privacy if (s)he feels that (s)he needs it. We will still talk with you as well to address your questions and concerns about your adolescent’s health, ensure your understanding of our plans, and encourage your support and participation. What the provider discusses alone with your adolescent will remain private unless (s)he wishes to share the conversation with you or the provider feels that your adolescent or someone else’s health is in danger. If that is the case, your adolescent will be made aware that you will all discuss the concerns together.
  2. We are interested in your adolescent’s physical and mental health and well-being. We communicate this directly to all of our adolescent patients and invite them to talk with us about any questions or concerns they may have related to any aspect of their health care, including some concerns that they may feel are confidential.
  3. We encourage your adolescent to ask questions themselves. This includes questions that might occur to them when they are not here in the office. We encourage them to call our office or e-mail us with any questions or concerns that they may have.
  4. We continue to see all young adults until their 18th birthday, or when they graduate from high school. We are also happy to help with their transition to care through adult medical services when that time comes.

We believe that these guidelines are an important step in helping your adolescent to learn the best way to stay healthy and become a more effective and independent health care consumer. Please discuss any questions or concerns with your provider.


Steven Kovar, M.D.

Kristine Liberty, M.D.

Jessica Ciszek, M.D.

Taryn Vrasich, CPNP

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