FAQs

Do you have question about our events and services? Keep reading! If you don’t find an answer to your question here, please give us a call at 763.533.1316.

Clinic Services

A comprehensive, fact-based approach

The Minnesota Legislature enacted the Minor’s Consent to Health Services Act in 1971 (Minnesota Statute § 144.343).  The statute permits health care providers to serve minors confidentially for a variety of health needs. As it relates to the services at the Annex, the law authorizes minors to give effective consent for health services to diagnose or treat pregnancy and conditions associated with venereal disease [sexually transmitted infections].

Prior to passage of this law, minors were apprehensive of parental reactions, embarrassment, or disrupting family harmony, and were not receiving needed health services, often jeopardizing their health and future lives.

The statute does not require professionals to serve minors, rather it enables them to do so. The law permits health care providers to inform parents or legal guardians of minors about any treatment needed or given if the provider concludes that failure to inform parents or guardians would jeopardize the health of the minor patient involved.

Why the law works:

  • Many mental and physical health issues, such as eating disorders, depression, diabetes, urinary tract infections, chemical/alcohol abuse, and violence in the home or elsewhere are often identified during the course of a minor’s confidential visit to a clinic. These may go undiagnosed and untreated if the minor does not have access to confidential health services.
  • Under current law, health practitioners may inform parents or legal guardians of any treatment given or needed where, in the practitioner’s judgment, failure to do so would jeopardize the health of the minor patient.
  • Most health practitioners encourage dialogue between minors and their parents or guardians. Often the services and counseling a minor receives in a clinic is the impetus to fostering better communication with parents or guardians.
  • Research shows that mandatory parental consent laws do not convince adolescents to talk with their parents, but rather increase their health risks by making them less likely to access essential health services.[1]
  • 55 percent of teens would not seek care for depression if parental notification were required.[2]
  • The estimated annual cost associated with requiring parental consent in Minnesota is $11 million, which includes an additional 1,235 teen pregnancies, 888 births, and 349 abortions among minors.[3]
  • In Illinois, after mandating parental consent, an immediate increase in teen pregnancies was seen; 24% in the first two years of the law going into effect.[4]
  • In Texas, parental notification laws are attributed to $44 million in increased annual medical costs.[5]

House Research: Minors’ Consent for Health Care (PDF)

May I see my child’s medical chart?

At traditional clinics, yes, the parent is automatically able to access their minor child’s medical chart.  Because the Annex is a specialty clinic focusing on a narrow range of sexual health care services, all of our clinical services that are protected under the Minors’ Consent Law.  This means that the minor client would need to provide written consent to release the information to a specific person or clinic.

May I join my child for an appointment at the Annex?

Yes, you may.  If you and your child are communicating openly and effectively about seeking sexual health care services, we would recommend that you talk with your child about this.

If you do join your child, please be aware that during a portion of the visit, the nurse will speak with the patient independently.  This is a standard practice, and a guideline that we apply regardless of who is accompanying the patient (for example, if the patient’s friend or partner accompanies the patient).

Also understand that the majority of young people who access our clinical services are doing so independently of their parents, and they place a high value on privacy and confidentiality.

How do services get paid for at the Annex?

As a designated “Essential Community Provider” by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Annex policy is that all young people will receive the services they need regardless of their ability to pay.  That said, we accept HealthPartners, UCare, and Minnesota Medical Assistance.  In the near future we will be able to accept several other insurances.  The Annex also offers Minnesota Family Planning Program (MFPP).  If a patient qualifies for MFPP, which is based on their income and that they are not covered by another State program, all of their services will be covered.  In the case where a patient has no insurance and does not qualify for MFPP, the Annex has a very reduced sliding fee schedule.

Who provides clinical services at the Annex Teen Clinic?

The Annex has four Registered Nurses (RN), three Nurse Practitioners (NP), and two physicians (MD) providing services to our patients.  All have several years of experience working with youth providing sexual health services.  Our clinic has a Clinic Director who oversees the administration of the clinic and a Medical Director who oversees clinical services.

What laws, regulations and standards does your clinic comply with?

As a medical clinic, the Annex must comply with the same regulations and compliance that other Family Practice and Specialty Clinics comply.  These include HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) for security and confidentiality; OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) for the safety of our patients and staff; CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) for compliance of laboratory testing.

Education Services

Does the Annex provide any resources for parent/child communication?

Yes!  Call or email Brooke Stelzer ([email protected]  / 763.235.1984) to learn more about the following programs:

  • Celebration of Change– A mother/daughter program for girls ages 9-12.  A focus on puberty changes, menstruation and family communication.
  • Beyond the Celebration– A mother/daughter program for girls ages 12-15. A focus on adolescent struggles, dating, safety and family communication.
  • Celebration of Change for African American Females– A culturally-specific Celebration for African American girls ages 9-12 and an important adult in their life. A focus on puberty changes, menstruation and family communication.
  • Celebration of Change for Hmong American Females – A culturally-specific Celebration for Hmong American girls ages 9-12 and an important adult in their life. A focus on puberty changes, menstruation and family communication.
  • Celebration of Change for African-born Females – A culturally-specific Celebration for African American girls ages 9-12 and an important adult in their life. A focus on puberty changes, menstruation and family communication.

I work/network with a group of parents and adults that would like to participate in parent-child sexuality education. Could you bring your program to us?

Absolutely!  Call or email Brooke Stelzer ([email protected] / 763-235-1984) to discuss your interests.

Do you offer puberty education programs for boys and men?

We do! The Annex facilitates many mixed-gender family programs in faith communities and in the broader community.  The programs listed above are often provided in community education settings, and we have had a high level of interest and participation from families. Over the years, the Annex has offered several puberty education programs exclusively for boys and fathers, or boys and a caring adult of any gender.  Families’ response to such programs has been very low.

If you are part of a group of males who would be interested in bringing our education programs to you, please call or email Brooke Stelzer ([email protected] / 763.235.1984) to discuss your interests.

Currently, Planned Parenthood facilitates Mother/Son retreats.  Learn more.

Will talking about sex and sexuality encourage my child to have sex?

No!  On the contrary, evaluations of comprehensive sex education and HIV/ STI prevention programs show that they do not increase rates of sexual initiation, do not lower the age at which youth initiate sex, and do not increase the frequency of sex or the number of sex partners among sexually active youth.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

In other words, young people who receive fact-based information on abstaining from sex as well as information about condoms and contraceptive are more likely to delay their first sexual encounter, and are more likely to use condoms and contraception effectively when they do initiate sex.

I sometimes feel very awkward and uncomfortable talking with my child about sexual health issues. Is this common?

Yes! Sometimes we feel like we should be an expert in everything our child asks us about.  However, issues around adolescent sexual health may have changed since you were an adolescent, plus it is challenging to talk about topics that were never modeled for you, as a child!  Increasingly, parents understand that it is essential to talk with their children about sexual health and their family’s values around sexual health.  When we “say nothing” we are sending children the message that it is taboo to discuss such matters.  This, in turn, can discourage open and honest communication, and places children at risk of learning about their bodies and sexual health through trial and error, and from uninformed sources.  The physical and emotional risks associated with this route are simply too great.

Keep in mind that you already communicate with your child about many challenging and sensitive issues.  You likely possess many skills and experiences that will support these conversations!

Here are tips and exercises for starting to talk about these issues, how to talk about them, and how parents and their children can learn to communication clearly and listen well.

Are young people more sexually active today than they were in my generation?

What’s the outlook on teen pregnancy today?

The U.S. and Minnesota are making great improvements in reducing the rates of unintended teen pregnancy.  This is due in large part to effective, fact-based sexuality education and increased use and access to effective forms of contraception. Download the “The Greatest Story Never Told” (PDF).

Why is sexual health education important to young people’s health and well-being?

Providing young people with the skills they need is key to healthy decision-making.  As they grow up, young people face important decisions about relationships, sexuality, and sexual behavior. The decisions they make can impact their health and well-being for the rest of their lives.

Parents and other caring adults have an important role to play in providing young people with fact-based, comprehensive sexual health information.  This can help young people:

Avoid negative health consequences. Each year in the United States, about 750,000 teens become pregnant, with up to 82 percent of those pregnancies being unintended. [1,2] Young people ages 15-24 account for 25 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S. [3] and make up almost one-half of the over 19 million new STD infections Americans acquire each year.[4] Sex education teaches young people the skills they need to protect themselves.

Communicate about sexuality and sexual heath. Throughout their lives, people communicate with parents, friends and intimate partners about sexuality. Learning to freely discuss contraception and condoms, as well as activities they are not ready for, protects young people’s health throughout their lives.

Delay sex until they are ready. Comprehensive sexual health education teaches abstinence as the only 100 percent effective method of preventing HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy – and as a valid choice which everyone has the right to make. Dozens of sex education programs have been proven effective at helping young people delay sex or have sex less often.[5]

Understand healthy and unhealthy relationships. Maintaining a healthy relationship requires skills many young people are never taught – like positive communication, conflict management, and negotiating decisions around sexual activity. A lack of these skills can lead to unhealthy and even violent relationships among youth: One in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year [6]. Sex education should include understanding and identifying healthy and unhealthy relationship patterns; effective ways to communicate relationship needs and manage conflict; and strategies to avoid or end an unhealthy relationship. [7]

Understand, value, and feel autonomy over their bodies. Comprehensive sexual health education teaches not only the basics of puberty and development, but also instills in young people that they have the right to decide what behaviors they engage in and to say no to unwanted sexual activity. Furthermore, sex education helps young people to examine the forces that contribute to a positive or negative body image.

Respect others’ right to bodily autonomy. Eight percent of high school students have been forced to have intercourse,[8] while one in ten students say they have committed sexual violence.[9] Good sex education teaches young people what constitutes sexual violence, that sexual violence is wrong, and how to find help if they have been assaulted.

Show dignity and respect for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The past few decades have seen huge steps toward equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Yet LGBT youth still face discrimination and harassment. Among LGBT students, 82 percent have experienced harassment due to the sexual orientation, and 38 percent have experienced physical harassment.[10]

Protect their academic success. Student sexual health can affect academic success. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that students who do not engage in health risk behaviors receive higher grades than students who do engage in health risk behaviors. Health-related problems and unintended pregnancy can both contribute to absenteeism and dropout.[11]


 References

[1] CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2011. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012.

[2] Finer LB et al., Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2006, 38(2):90–96.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2011. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2012.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2012. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.

[5] Alford S, et al. Science and Success: Sex Education and Other Programs that Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2008;

[6] Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Health Teen Relationships. Atlanta: Center for Disease Control and Prevention; 2013.

[7] National Sexual Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K-12. A Special Publication of the Journal of School Health. 2012: 6-9. http://www.futureofsexed.org/documents/josh-fose-standards-web.pdf. Accessed October 2, 2013.

[8] Davis A. Interpersonal and Physical Dating Violence among Teens. National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2013

[9] Ybarra ML and Mitchell KJ. “Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents.” JAMA Pediatrics, December 2013.

[10] Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. The 20011 National School Climate Survey: The School Related Experiences of Our Nation’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. New York, NY: GLSEN, 2012.

[11] CDC. Sexual Risk Behaviors and Academic Achievement. Atlanta, GA: CDC, (2010); last accessed 5/23/2010.

Learn more at:  The Future of Sex Ed


[1] Reddy D, Effect of Mandatory Parental Notification on Adolescent Girls’ Use of Sexual Health Care Services. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002, 288:710-714.

[2] Advocates for Youth: Adolescent Access to Confidential Health Services. Available at www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/iag/confhlth.htm

[3] Minneapolis Department of Health & Family Support, Policy & Research Brief, 2005.

[4] Zavodny M. Fertility and Parental Consent for Minors to Receive Contraceptives. American Journal of Public Health,2004; 94; 1347-1351.

[5] Franzini L, Marks E, Cromwell PF, et al. Projected Economic Costs Due to Health Consequences of Teenagers’ Loss of Confidentiality in Obtaining Reproductive Health Care Services in Texas. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004; 158: 1140-1146.

[6] Kirby D. Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2001.

[7] Kirby D et al. Impact of Sex and HIV Education Programs on Sexual Behaviors of Youth in Developing and Developed Countries. [Youth Research Working Paper, No. 2] Research Triangle Park, NC: Family Health International, 2005.

[8] Alford S. Science and Success: Sex Education and Other Programs that Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2003.

[9] Alford S. Science and Success, Second Edition: Programs that Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2008.

[10] UNAIDS. Impact of HIV and Sexual Health Education on the Sexual Behaviour of Young People: a Review Update. Geneva, Switzerland: UNAIDS, 1997.

[11] Baldo M et al. Does Sex Education Lead to Earlier or Increased Sexual Activity in Youth? Presented at the Ninth International Conference on AIDS, Berlin, 1993. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1993.

Photo CC Orin Zebest