MSDC Advocacy Chair Testifies on Minor Consent Bill March 29, 2021

Written by MSDC Staff

On Monday, MSDC Advocacy Committee Chair Klint Peebles, MD, testified on behalf of the Medical Society of DC at a Committee on Health hearing. Dr. Peebles spoke to B24-0029, the Minor Consent to Healthcare for HIV and AIDS Clarification Amendment Act. In his testimony (seen in full below), he shared that the legislation tracks with American Medical Association policy and allows adolescents to consent to good healthcare practices without fear of retribution.

Chair Vincent Gray thanked Dr. Peebles for his testimony and the Medical Society's work on legislation last year allowing minors to consent to vaccinations without parental consent. Councilmember Pinto echoed that thanks and asked Dr. Peebles and Dr. Kathy Ferrer of Children's National questions on the science behind minor consent in medicine.

Dr. Peebles Health hearing 3.2021

March 29, 2021
Councilmember Vincent Gray
Chair, Committee on Health
1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
Dear Chairman Gray, 
The Medical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC) is the largest medical organization representing metropolitan Washington physicians in the District. We advocate on behalf of all 11,000 plus licensed physicians in the District and seek to make the District “the best place to practice medicine.” 

I thank your committee for considering B24-0029, the Minor Consent to Healthcare for HIV and AIDS Clarification Amendment Act of 2021. The importance of this legislation cannot be overstated as it will enhance access to care for minors, reduce stigma surrounding HIV infection and prevention, and empower minors to make timely and responsible decisions for their own health. Many adolescents may be unwilling to receive sensitive healthcare services if they need to involve their parent or guardian, which can result in barriers for not only testing but also for treatment and prevention. Conversations concerning HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment often intersect with discussions about sexual behavior and identity, both of which minors may not feel comfortable disclosing to parents and family. We further appreciate the intent of this legislation to clarify existing statutes that a minor of any age may consent to such health services as long as their provider deems them capable of giving informed consent given that all patient encounters and circumstances are unique and must be assessed within their own context. 

Such language is well-aligned with existing policy from the American Medical Association, including H60.965, which affirms that confidential care for adolescents is critical to improving their health, and H60.958, which specifically recommends that rights be conferred upon minors to consent for the means of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of STDs, including HIVAIDS.
Thank you for working so intently to safeguard the health of the District’s residents, including its most vulnerable and marginalized residents. I am happy to answer any questions and work with all your offices to continue making the District the best place to practice medicine.
Klint Peebles, MD FAAD
Chair, MSDC Advocacy Committee