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Mature Minor

Unlike most other states, Arizona does not have particularized statutes that allow for minors' consent to general health care, drug abuse treatment, prenatal care, or access to contraceptive care. Under Arizona Revised Statute 36-2024 (2001) (enacted 1972; amended 1986), however, a minor may specifically consent to her own treatment for alcohol abuse, and under Arizona Revised Statute 44-132.01(2001), she can consent to treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Since no age minimum age is specified, this may allow for a health care provider to widely interpret the age of a minor who may give consent for treatment, or alternatively, to narrowly interpret the statute's silence and refuse to treat minors based on an individual arbitrary motive.

Despite the absence of a statutory scheme, Arizona is nevertheless exceptional, in that it statutorily defines a homeless minor under Arizona Revised Statute 44-132(C) (2001): a homeless minor may consent to the furnishing of hospital, medical and surgical care. Indeed, with 44-132(C), Arizona uniquely provides for access to medical care for homeless youth under 18 years of age. An individual ``under the age of eighteen years living apart from his parents and who lacks a fixed and regular nighttime residence or whose primary residence is either a supervised shelter designed to provide temporary accommodations, a halfway house or a place not designed for or ordinarily used for sleeping by humans is entitled to obtain hospital, medical and surgical care.''224 While no age minimum is specified, this could be a point of confusion for health care providers. However, a health care provider acting in reliance on the consent of a minor who has authority or apparent authority pursuant to this section to consent to health care is not subject to criminal and civil liability and professional disciplinary action on the ground that he or she failed to obtain consent of the minor's parent, parents or legal guardian.225

Finally, Arizona does not specify a minor's right to consent to outpatient mental health care, and is restrictive regarding a minor's access and consent to voluntary admission for mental health services. Except in the case of an emergency, a minor may only be admitted if consent is given by a parent, or, if the child is in the custody of the court, a ward of the juvenile court, or is adjudicated delinquent or incorrigible unless approved by the court

However, Arizona does not specify a minor's right to consent to outpatient mental health care, and is restrictive regarding a minor's access and consent to voluntary admission for mental health services. Except in the case of an emergency, a minor may only be admitted if consent is given by a parent, or, if the child is in the custody of the court, a ward of the juvenile court, or is adjudicated delinquent or incorrigible unless approved by the court.226

In sum, the Arizona statute, which specifically provides a homeless minor to consent to medical care, is unique and may serve to provide the most liberal access to health care for youths, particularly the target population of JRI. Massachusetts legislators would be wise to inquire as to the implications of a similar provision in Massachusetts statutes.



Footnotes

...224
Id.
...225
Ariz. Rev. Stat. 44-132(B) (2001).
...226
Ariz. Rev. Stat. 36-518 (2001), enacted in 1971; ammended nine times since.

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Next: Legal Access Up: Arizona Previous: Emancipation   Contents   Index
LCD Law Office #2