05 Jan Obama gun control push leads HHS to change HIPAA rule for background checks
Rule change will enable providers to show the identities of patients subject to a federal mental health prohibitor for gun possession.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights said it will change the rules so that mental health providers can share data with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, part of a slate of executive actions President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced to help curtail gun violence.
NICS is maintained by the FBI to conduct background checks on people who may be legally disqualified from owning guns.
Specifically, the HIPAA Privacy Rule change will enable mental health providers to show the identities of patients subject to a federal mental health prohibitor that prevents them from shipping, transporting or possessing a firearm, according to OCR.
However, the new rule prohibits mental health providers from sharing any diagnostic or clinical information from medical records or other sources beyond the fact that an person is barred from gun ownership.