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    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Pediatric practice is unique in that developmental maturation allows, over time, for increasing inclusion of the child’s and adolescent’s opinion in medical decision-making in clinical practice and research.”1 For practices, part of this process involves the consent to treat form, which is a legal document ensuring continuous communication between a patient and his or her healthcare provider.

    One MGMA member recently sent the following inquiry to MGMA Ask an Advisor:

    How often should the patients/parents sign the consent to treat form? And do we need to add the name of the specific insurance company on the insurance authorization/assignment of benefits?  

    Per MGMA’s subject-matter experts, consent forms can be signed once a year by patients/parents for routine visits; however, if a procedure is being done on the patient, informed consent should be received prior to each new type of procedure.

    It’s also important to note that there are federal and state laws that permit minors to consent to certain types of medical treatments without parental consent. For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia allows minors to consent to certain treatments and access medical records under certain circumstances.

    Regarding the insurance authorization form and/or financial agreement, it’s best to include the name of the insurance company on that page, as well as the page with the patient’s demographic information. In addition, all new paperwork should be updated annually.

    MGMA offers a range of content on consent to treat:
    MGMA also recommends the following resources regarding informed consent for minors:

    What’s your question?

    Do you have a crucial question or need help with a complicated medical practice management issue? With MGMA’s Ask an Advisor program, you can depend on our team of experts to provide answers, recommendations and the tools you need to be successful.

    Note:

    1. Committee on Bioethics. “Informed Consent in Decision-Making in Pediatric Practice.” Pediatrics, 138(2), 1. Available from: bit.ly/2TaO54e.
     
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