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-   -   HIPAA Changes to Comply With NICS (http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f97/hipaa-changes-comply-nics-89628/)

Bigcountry02 04-26-2013 06:04 PM

HIPAA Changes to Comply With NICS
 
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Obama administration moves to remove barriers to firearm background check reporting

http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/04/20130419a.html

Today, as part of President Obama’s common sense plan to reduce gun violence, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius initiated a rulemaking process to remove unnecessary legal barriers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule that may prevent states from reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is the database that houses information on individuals prohibited by law from possessing firearms. This is one of the 23 executive actions the President announced in the wake of the Newtown tragedy to protect our children and our communities from gun violence.

The NICS was created by the Brady Act and ensures that guns are not sold to those prohibited by law from buying them, including felons, those convicted of domestic violence, and individuals involuntarily committed to a mental institution or found to be a danger or unable to manage their affairs due to a mental health condition.

While this background check system is the most efficient and effective way to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, it is only as effective as the information that is available to it. According to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report, 17 states had submitted fewer than 10 records of individuals prohibited for mental health reasons.

Today, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) plans to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to ask for the public’s input on how HIPAA may prevent some states from reporting to the NICS and ways in which these barriers can be addressed without discouraging individuals from seeking mental health services.

“In order to protect our children and communities, we must ensure that information on potentially dangerous individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms is available to the background check system,” said Secretary Sebelius. “At the same time, it is important to note that the vast majority of Americans with mental health conditions are not violent and that those with mental illness are in fact more likely to be victims than perpetrators. We do not want to discourage individuals who need help from seeking mental health services, and our actions will be carefully tailored to ensure patient confidentiality as well as public health and safety.”

“Through the public comment process, we will use the data and information provided by states, health providers, patient advocates and others to determine how best to remove unnecessary barriers to NICS reporting while protecting patient privacy,” said OCR Director Leon Rodriguez.

The database that houses non-criminal justice information on individuals prohibited from possessing firearms for reasons related to mental health – called the NICS Index – does not contain medical or mental health records. If an individual is prohibited from purchasing a firearm due to specific mental health reasons as set by law, the following information is submitted to the NICS: (1) basic identifying information about the individual such as name, social security number, and date of birth, (2) the name of the state or federal agency that submitted the information, and (3) a notation on which of the ten prohibited categories is applicable to the individual, which allows the individual to appeal and seek to correct incomplete or inaccurate information if needed.

When federally licensed firearms dealers request a NICS background check for a potential buyer, the only information they get back is that the potential buyer is approved, denied, or additional investigation is needed. The dealer does not receive any information about why an individual is denied and does not ever have access to any records of potential buyers, including health records.

orangello 04-26-2013 06:09 PM

Could be a good safety net against the crazies; could be a good tool for subjugating the insolent innocents seeking to remain free.

HockaLouis 04-26-2013 06:30 PM

I wrote on this here previously. It seems like the right thing to do on the face of it to have the NICS work as intended, and if not abused, including stopping some crazies.

It didn't happen sooner (like early January when this Executive Order was actually signed), until after the Senate failed to pass the Universal and then Expanded Background Check, because the White House NEEDS crazies with guns to drive their agenda (like the national gun registration they were planning). But now, after his biggest defeat in office yet, Hussein Obama can say "better late than never" as he single-handedly exposes and battles the evil Congress/NRA conspiracy with the victims of Sandy Hook families in the photo's background. For the kids, ya know...

anm2_man 04-26-2013 09:28 PM

The big question is who is control of your medical records after the info is sent to NCIS and if there was a mistake, how the hell to you get off of the NCIS system ?

opaww 04-26-2013 09:32 PM

Will your medical Dr. be able to decide you need to be on the list just because you told a bad joke in his office one day?

orangello 04-26-2013 09:36 PM

What Doctor? I haven't seen a doctor in a couple of years, and I try to never see the same one twice.


Oh, wait; maybe you mean the doctors we will be herded to by osamacare incentives. Yep, that could suck; I will play mute, drunk mute.

FullautoUSA 04-26-2013 09:43 PM

My biggest concern with this is, what gets one on the list? Does this mean that anyone who takes medication goes on the list? What about people with mental "illnesses" that don't really do anything, like ADHD?

Axxe55 04-26-2013 09:44 PM

should people with mental health issues be denied the possession of firearms? yes they should. they could be a danger to themselves or others.

should your private Dr. have to report to some agency about your mental health? hell no! should a person be placed on some list just because of the medication they are taking? hell no!

but what i do see, is that if they start trying to invade the privacy of the patient, then it could drive people away from seeking the help they need.

if a person is committed for mental illness based on their actions by a judge involuntarily, then those records could be provided to the NCIS.

mental health issues are tricky subject and yes they need a clear defintion as to who can or can't possess a firearm. but it should not be any government agency or any political entity making those decisions for us. it needs to be people who have complete objectivity in the matter.

7point62 04-26-2013 10:07 PM

This is going to do nothing but generate lawsuits. I'm against any additional gun control on principle. The existing laws are enough provided they are enforced.

MisterMcCool 04-26-2013 10:27 PM

If talking to a doctor about depression could get us branded as crazy on some government list, would any of us ask a doctor for help when we need it? Sometimes drugs can help people get over depression after a divorce, death, postpartum, etc.


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