Medical records release of children of suspected abuse or neglect advances

Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington

COLUMBIA — A bill that aims to protect children of suspected abuse or neglect moved a step closer on Tuesday to becoming law.

The bill calls for the release of prior medical records, without the consent of the parent or legal guardian, to a doctor examining a child because of a report of suspected child abuse or neglect. Before passing the House on Tuesday, the bill was amended to ensure it complied with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly referred to as HIPPA. It now goes back to the Senate for a final vote before it can be sent to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk.

The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, said she’s happy to see it advance in time to ideally pass before the end of the legislative session next week. She has stressed the bill is needed because a parent or guardian abusing a child is unlikely to willingly release the records.