Whitman-Walker is dedicated to helping young people navigate adolescence. We provide high-quality, comprehensive care to youth (ages 10-24) in a safe, non-judgmental space while respecting individuality, supporting physical and emotional growth and development, and educating and empowering young people to take good care of their own health and well-being. Seeing an adolescent medicine specialist is a great way to move from childhood—where parents or guardians manage healthcare decisions—into the independence of adulthood.

Most young people are healthy, but there can be a lot going on in their lives. It can be extraordinarily helpful to see a provider who has extra training in the medical and emotional issues many pre-teens, teens, and young adults face. Our team of providers partners with our patients and their parents or guardians from pre-teen years into adulthood.

Our providers have specialty training in medicine for young people and LGBTQ+ care. Our staff is trained in talking with teens and young adults about topics like acne, sex, pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual and gender identity, alcohol and drug use, smoking, irregular periods, body changes, eating disorders, mood changes, anxiety, depression, social bullying, and other issues at home or in school. 

We encourage you to discuss any medical concerns with your parent(s) or trusted adult. Under DC law, youth can consent themselves to be seen for birth control, pregnancy testing, substance use, and STI testing and treatment without a parent or guardian.

Young people and their guardians can access services through our
main patient numbers – phone: 202.745.7000 or text: 202.978.6123.

Questions and Answers for Young People

What medical services does Whitman-Walker Health provide for young people from ages 10-24?
  • Primary care
  • Immunizations (HPV, meningococcal disease, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and other recommended routine vaccines)
  • School & Sports physicals & annual checkups
  • Reproductive Health care (pregnancy testing, birth control)
  • STI/HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services
  • Gender-affirming care
  • Youth Behavioral Health Care, including psychiatry and trauma-informed care
  • Youth and Family Care Navigation
When do I need the consent of my parent or guardian to be seen at Whitman-Walker Health?

If you are a pre-teen or teen, you and your parent or guardian should come together for your visit if you are:

  • Seeking primary medical care. Primary care includes annual school and sports physicals, immunizations, evaluation and treatment of acne, asthma, or other medical conditions.
  • Seeking gender-affirming care.
  • Seeking psychiatric care where medications are prescribed to manage conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression.

This is because DC law requires parental or guardian consent for the above services.

What are my privacy rights?

For select services, defined below, you have the right to talk to a healthcare provider, have tests, and receive treatment about certain issues, and we cannot tell your parent(s) or guardian(s) unless you give us permission. These select services are birth control, pregnancy testing, substance use, and STI testing and treatment, as well as behavioral health counseling. We also cannot tell anyone you are our patient without your permission, absent an allowable legal exception, such as to advance treatment and payment.

For your safety, some things cannot stay confidential or private. By law, we must contact someone if your safety is at risk. This would include if you told us that you are being physically and/or sexually abused or if you are threatening to hurt yourself or someone else. 

What should I expect if I am seeking care with my parent or guardian?

First, you will find a place that cares about you and your privacy. Our staff will maintain confidentiality while following all applicable laws and regulations. They want you to talk with your parent(s) or guardian about your health, and they will also talk with you directly.  If your parent, guardian, or trusted adult joins you for your visit to our clinic, we will confirm that you consent to their being present for the visit.

The healthcare team will talk to you and your parent or guardian about things important for your health. They will ask questions about how you are feeling, things going on in your life, and anything else you want to talk about. Together, you, your parent or guardian, and the healthcare team will make a health plan that will work for you.

The healthcare provider will also talk with you alone about some things. This is to make sure you can share your own thoughts independently. This is a time for you to ask any questions or bring up health concerns you might be afraid or embarrassed to discuss otherwise. There is no question or concern that is off-limits. And if you want to include your parent or guardian but need support doing so, we are there to help you do this as well.

In short, coming to see a doctor at Whitman-Walker Health with your parent or guardian is a team effort. The healthcare team is there to help you and your family, making sure everyone is on the same page and taking care of your health in a way that fits you.

When can I come without my parent or guardian to Whitman-Walker Health?

You may make an appointment to be seen at one of our DC clinics for the following services without the consent of a guardian or parent:

  • Reproductive health services and family planning services. This means that you can consent to testing and treatment for STIs and HIV, birth control, and for pregnancy testing.
  • Substance use services, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of substance use disorders related to drugs and/or alcohol
  • Behavioral and mental health counseling services

If you are 18 years old or older, you may seek all services independently without the involvement of a parent or guardian.

How much will it cost to be seen?

If you have DC Medicaid, you will not have to pay for your services. If you have private insurance and are just getting STI testing or birth control, you usually will not have to pay anything, because these are preventive care services. If you need treatment for an STI, there might be a small amount of money you need to pay, called a co-pay or deductible, for the treatment you get. To know if you have a co-pay or deductible, you can call your insurance company.

If you do not have insurance, our Public Benefits and Insurance Navigation (PBIN) team can help you with insurance coverage. If you do not qualify for insurance, they can see if you qualify for a discount on the cost of services, based on your family size and your family’s income. Please call the Insurance Helpline at (202) 745-6151 to discuss insurance.  [Link to PBIN page]

If you do not have insurance and are paying out of pocket, we will give you a good faith estimate of the cost of the services you are interested in.

What should I bring with me?

If you have them, it is a good idea to bring (A) your DC Medicaid card or insurance card and (B) your picture ID, such as a driver’s license or school ID. If you don’t have them, please let us know when you call to make an appointment, and we will work with you to figure out how to help you be seen. 

Could my parents or guardian find out that I accessed services using my health insurance?

Possibly, because an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is a document from health insurance companies sent to the primary insurance holder, typically the adult your insurance is under. The EOB shows the cost of medical services, what cost the insurance covers, and what the patient needs to pay. The level of detail on an EOB differs by insurance plan, but it usually does not show the specific tests or services that were provided. For example, it would show that $50 of tests were done, but not that STI testing was done.  Whitman-Walker Health is not able to control the insurance plans’ materials and cannot guarantee confidentiality between the plans and parents or guardians.

What if I live in a State outside of the District of Columbia?

We care for people ages 10+ who can attend in-person, both initial medical visits and their necessary follow-up appointments. Follow-up appointments may be conducted via telehealth if medically appropriate and you are physically located in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia (the DMV area) during your appointment, as these are the jurisdictions where our providers are licensed to practice.

All initial medical visits must be in-person; follow-up appointments are often able to be scheduled via telehealth so long as the patient can attend from the DMV area. You do not have to live in the DMV area, but you will have to be physically present in the DMV area at the time of the appointment due to licensure requirements.

Important Note: Per WWH policy, our provider will ask the patient or guardian (if patient is a minor for services that require parental consent) to attest to your physical location at the time of any telehealth appointment and will cancel appointments where patients are not physically located in the DMV area for the appointment. In that case, you will need to reschedule for an in-person or telehealth appointment when you will be physically present in the DMV area.

We are here to help you navigate your care so if you have any questions, please ask.