Gun control overhaul sparks change in HIPAA

President Obama has taken executive action on gun control. On Monday, the White House released a fact sheet laying out the plan to reduce gun violence in the United States. Amongst the many actions to be taken is an update to how HIPAA regulates covered entities and the reporting of mental health issues.

A part of the executive plan on gun control focuses on removing legal barriers preventing states from reporting information to National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This element of the plan specifically addresses information on individuals prohibited by federal law from owning firearms due to mental health reasons.

Some officials raised concerns related to HIPAA and the possibility the privacy law would prohibit reporting on mental health issues, according to the fact sheet. HHS addressed this concern and released a final rule "permitting certain HIPAA covered entities to provide to the NICS limited demographic and other necessary information about these individuals."

The final rule will go into effect next month.

Click here to view HHS' final rule.

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