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Old January 17, 2013, 01:32 PM   #10
Join Date: June 15, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 45
The new Obama gun plan talks in loose terms about sharing information on mental health patients. But how does this actually work? When you visit the doctors office you sign a HIPAA form. This form allows the option of not sharing your medical infromation.
There are several permitted uses and disclosures of protected health information(PHI) covered by HIPAA. In these cases, patient authorization is NOT required. Most of these disclosures are directly related to patient care. But there is a section covering "public interest and benefit activities". Among those permitted reasons listed are "serious threat to health or safety" and "essential government functions".

If the executive order is worded in such a way that the reporting of certain mental health issues falls under one of those provisions, then unauthorized disclosure of relevant PHI to the federal government would be permitted under the law. As far as I can tell it would still be the physician or healthcare institution's prerogative whether to report. I don't see any way that he can require reporting via executive order.

Even if they do collect that information, I'm not sure what good it would do. NICS can only deny you if you have been found mentally defective, involuntarily committed or been declared mentally incompetent. All of those are handled by the judicial system, are they not?
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