Under federal law, health plans and most health care providers are required to ensure the privacy and security of your child's health care information. Generally, they may use and share your child's health information for limited purposes including:
  • For treatment: Your child's health care provider may share health information with doctors, nurses and other health care personnel who are involved in your child's care.

  • For payment: Your child's health care provider may use or share health information with your child's health plan in order to bill and collect payment for your child's health care services.

  • For health care operations: Your child's health care provider or your health plan may use or share information in order to better manage his or her program and activities, such as improving treatment for your child.

  • For public health activities: Your child's health care provider may share information for public health activities, including sharing your child's immunization records with the school nurse to meet the requirements of Massachusetts law.

As a parent you have rights regarding your child's health information. You may request a copy of your child's medical records. Also, there are certain times when your child's health care provider or health plan may need your permission before sharing your child's health information. If you have questions about medical privacy, ask your child's health care provider or health plan about how they protect your child's privacy.

A federal law that protects a person's health information is called HIPAA. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This law requires most entities that provide or pay for health care (like most doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies) to protect the privacy of health information, and to standardize the way they exchange health information.


This information is provided by the Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs within the Department of Public Health.