minor patient policy
Our office strongly encourages all patients under the age of 19 be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who is able to provide consent to treatment(s).
- In the event a parent or legal guardian is unavailable to attend an appointment with the minor patient, our practice will make allowances for verbal consent over the phone.
- If we are unable to obtain consent in person or by phone, the appointment will be rescheduled until consent is obtained.
- Note: Consent must be obtained for every scheduled visit or treatment; it is not enough for consent to be obtained solely on the initial visit.
FAQ Relating to Minor Patients
Generally, a minor is defined as all persons under 19 unless the person marries. Upon marriage, his or her status as a minor ends. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2101
Under Nebraska law, a court may declare a minor emancipated after a showing of circumstantial evidence, express agreement, or implication arising from the conduct of the parties. Typically, a child will be deemed emancipated after his or her parents renounce all their legal duties and voluntarily surrender their legal rights to the minor. In determining whether a minor is emancipated, the intent of the parent governs. Foxvog v. Foxvog, 578 N.W.2d 916, 919-920 (Neb. App. 1998)
Once emancipated, the child’s status as a minor ends and he or she is treated as an adult. The emancipated minor can consent to his or her own hospital, dental, emergency,
or surgical care and is liable to pay for any medical services rendered. The minor’s parents may be held liable for the emancipated minor’s medical expenses only if they have expressly agreed. Accent Service Co, Inc. v. Ebsen, 306 N.W.2d 575, 576-577 (Neb. 1981)
Emancipation is not necessarily a continuing status; even if once established, it may be terminated at any time during the child’s minority. Wulff v. Wulff, 500 N.W.2d 845, 850 (Neb. 1993)
A minor who is at least 16 years of age, who is married or living apart from his or her parents or legal guardian, may petition the district court in the county of the minor’s residence for a judgment of emancipation. If granted, the minor is treated as an adult and may consent to his or
her own medical, dental, or psychiatric care without the consent, knowledge, or liability of parents or a guardian. The emancipated minor is responsible for paying for the medical care. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-4802; Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-4810(1)
Child Abuse and Reporting Obligations
A person commits child abuse if he or she knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes or permits a minor child to be:
- Placed in a situation that endangers his or her life or physical or mental health;
- Cruelly confined or cruelly punished;
- Deprived of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or care;
- Placed in a situation to be sexually exploited through sex trafficking or by allowing, encouraging, or forcing such minor to engage in debauchery, public indecency, or obscene or pornographic photography, films, or depictions; or
- Placed in a situation to be sexually abused or sexually assaulted.
- Placed in a situation to be a trafficking victim.
When any physician, medical institution, nurse, or other health care provider has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or neglect or observes such child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which reasonably would result in child abuse or neglect, he or she shall report such incident to the proper law enforcement agency or to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.