Letters to the Editor

Group Health vs. drugs, sex and alcohol | Federal Way letters

This weekend I sprained my finger badly enough for it to swell up and turn all shades of purple, green and blue. I doubted it was broken, but my parents scheduled an appointment with Group Health to be on the safe side and to have it checked out.

As I waited for the doctor to arrive, I was informed of Group Health’s latest rule: Patients under the age of 18 who are going to their appointment alone must have a signed parental note unless their appointment has to do with drugs, sex or alcohol.

There’s something really, really messed up with this picture. You’re telling me that I’m not allowed to go in alone for a sprained finger without my parent’s consent, yet if I’m having sex as a minor, using illegal drugs, or drinking underage, I can go in and they’ll never know? That’s exactly what they’re saying, and it disgusts me.

I have no problem bringing in a note because my parents aren’t available to take me, and the only time I can come in is between school and work. That’s totally fair. The problem I have is that Group Health is encouraging and enabling teenagers who are breaking the law. Group Health should be cooperating with parents to help their children, not taking their place.

By allowing teenagers to go behind their parents’ backs when they’re involved in illegal activity, Group Health is not only disrespecting the parents’ authority in their children’s lives, but being incredibly deceitful.

If your son or daughter was having sex or smoking weed, wouldn’t you like to know? Or would you prefer your health care provider work on their problems and give them advice without your consent?

And how is it that the teens who break the law, whether it be having sex with someone over 18, smoking pot or drinking, be protected by Group Health under confidentiality — but someone who simply needs her finger X-rayed can’t get in without a note? As a teenager who has never smoked, snorted, chewed, drank or had sex, I’d like to know.

All I ask is that Group Health stop putting a wedge between parents and their children. Teenagers who are out there “living it up” need to be set straight by their mom and dad, not coddled by their health care providers. The repercussions of sex, drugs and alcohol in a young person’s life have an overwhelming tendency of being disastrous. Young women who once had goals and aspirations become single mothers and shoot down many possibilities in life. Kids do drugs and cut school. They drop out, they pull away from their families, and they never live up to their full potential. They also get addicted to alcohol, which can have a severe impact on anyone. Just ask me. I’ve lost two family members to the substance so far, one who should have been my grandmother.

My generation has seen divorce. They’ve lived in fatherless homes. They’ve been abused. They’ve not been loved. They turn to harmful behaviors because they feel like they have nowhere else to go. That high, that feeling they get when they do what they do, becomes what they live for, and it breaks my heart.

If Group Health really wants to help teenagers, and I believe they do, maybe they should try bringing families together rather than separating them.

Abigail Dambacher, Federal Way

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