Controversy Erupts as Healthcare Provider Blocks Parents’ Access to Children’s Prescription Records After Age 12
Atrium Health’s CarolinaCARE, a healthcare provider based in North Carolina, has announced a change in its prescription information policy for children aged 12 to 17. Starting November 1, 2023, parents and legal guardians will no longer have access to their children’s prescription records once the child turns 12.
In a letter to parents and legal guardians, CarolinaCARE explained the decision, stating that it’s intended to protect the privacy of children’s prescription records. The change allows minors to receive prescription medications for sensitive health issues without the concern of parental reactions. The move is in line with laws that permit minors to access certain prescription medications without parental consent, including treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, drug or alcohol abuse, and mental health issues.
To facilitate this change, CarolinaCARE has provided a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, informing parents that children between the ages of 12 and 17 will need to create their own prescription accounts on the CarolinaCARE website. This change means that parents will no longer be able to view or manage their child’s prescriptions once the child turns 12, and the transition will automatically take place on the child’s 12th birthday if it falls after November 1, 2023.
However, this new policy has sparked concerns among parents, particularly regarding access to prescription medications related to mental health and gender-reassignment treatments. Some worry that this change could potentially enable healthcare professionals to prescribe hormone replacement therapy, puberty blockers, and other gender transition medications to minors without parental awareness.
Notably, this policy change comes in the wake of North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly overriding the veto of Democrat Governor Roy Cooper. In August, they passed a law that restricts gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender youth. While CarolinaCARE argues that this change is necessary due to its status as a home delivery service serving multiple states with varying laws concerning access to health information and prescriptions, it has faced backlash over the decision.
Parents and conservative commentators have expressed concerns about the potential implications of this policy. While the change is allegedly aimed at preserving privacy and adhering to legal frameworks across multiple states, it has raised questions about the balance between children’s autonomy and parental rights, particularly in the context of critical health issues affecting minors.