- In an effort to stem gun violence, HHS will allow mental health providers to share certain information with federal law enforcement officials.
- The change to HIPAA is one of several executive actions aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of violent or unstable individuals announced by President Barack Obama during a White House event on Tuesday.
- Republicans accused the president of overreaching his authority and promised to dismantle the new gun restrictions following the November elections, Modern Healthcare reports.
Specifically, HHS’ Office for Civil Rights will update the HIPAA privacy rule to let mental health providers identify patients who have been barred from shipping, transporting, or possessing firearms. The new data, to be shared with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, will not include any clinical or diagnostic information from the patient’s medical records.
NICS maintains only “the name of the ineligible individual; the date of birth; sex; and codes indicating the applicable prohibitor, the submitting entity, and the agency record supporting the prohibition (e.g., an order for involuntary commitment),” the new rule states.
Obama’s plan also expands the definition of a gun dealer to include anyone selling guns and calls for the addition of 230 new FBI examiners to conduct background checks, stiffer enforcement of checks and licenses for sales at gun shows and over the Internet, $500 million to boost access to mental health care, and research into gun safety technology, according to Healthcare IT News.
Obama unveiled the sweeping measures out of frustration with lawmakers unwillingness to impose stiffer gun control laws following mass shootings Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT; a church in Charleston, SC; a political rally in Tucson, AZ, and more.