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HHS Proposed Rulemaking on NICS and HIPPA Published

Appearing in the Federal Register:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or “the Department”) is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking to modify the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to expressly permit certain HIPAA covered entities to disclose to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) the identities of individuals who are subject to a Federal “mental health prohibitor” that disqualifies them from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The NICS is a national system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct background checks on persons who may be disqualified from receiving firearms based on federally prohibited categories or State law. Among the persons subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor are individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution; found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity; or otherwise have been determined by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority to be a danger to themselves or others or to lack the mental capacity to contract or manage their own affairs, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease. Under this proposal, only covered entities with lawful authority to make adjudication or commitment decisions that make individuals subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor, or that serve as repositories of information for NICS reporting purposes, would be permitted to disclose the information needed for these purposes. This disclosure would be restricted to limited demographic and certain other information and would not include medical records, or any mental health information beyond the indication that the individual is subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor. HHS notes that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed clarifications to the regulatory definitions relevant to the Federal mental health prohibitor. The DOJ proposal is published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. While commenters should consider this proposed regulation in light of the clarifications proposed in DOJ’s proposal, we note that those clarifications would not change how this proposed HIPAA permission would operate.

This honestly won’t do much, because my understand that it’s state privacy laws, not federal, that prevent many of the states that don’t report from reporting.

6 Responses to “HHS Proposed Rulemaking on NICS and HIPPA Published”

  1. GoneWithTheWind says:

    I assume that the SSA and IRS will also now provide the names and addresses of people using fake SS numbers to ICE so they can investigate and deport illegals. Also provide this data to the various welfare administrators so they can identify and prosecute illegals who use phony ID’s to illegally collect welfare.

  2. Fiftycal says:

    The main thing it would do is LEGALIZE the VA’s designation of vets with PTSD as “not being able to manage their own affairs” and put them on the NICS list with NO WAY to get off.

    • Sebastian says:

      How would it do that? They did it before with HIPPA fully in place. If they wanted to do that, they don’t need this rule change.

  3. Matthew Carberry says:

    The VA claims is more GOA-type overstatement. We need to address potential threats on their own merits, not immediately go to hyperbole snd “sky is falling” what-ifs. Doing that provides our opponents an angle of attack on our valid arguments and makes us look like paranoids.

    Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

    I believe that Alaska’s explicit enumerated right to privacy is what has prevented notification in the past.

  4. Jeremiah says:

    Given the “security” of the health care sites, what is to keep a ne’er-do-well from putting large numbers of people on the “mental health list”? Is there a way to get off the list due to an error, malware, or other reason?

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      They’d have to fake the adjudication documents from a legal hearing. Just get an affadavit from the listed authorities that the hearing never happened.

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