For all you legal eagles, When agencies hide public records behind HIPAA, the diagnosis is “brain death” (or “Chronic Liar’s Disease”):
Many news stories require reporting on the injuries and ailments of public figures, and the public has a clear interest in — and entitlement to — information about stories that implicate the health of campus newsmakers.
And yet, whether through ignorance or deliberate obstructionism, government agencies continue to cite HIPAA, the federal health privacy law, to withhold or heavily edit public records in situations where HIPAA plainly does not apply.
When a request for public records is met by a claim of HIPAA confidentiality, a journalist’s first assumption should be that the explanation is bogus. “Show me where in the law it says that,” is an excellent response to this and to many other half-baked rationalizations for dishonoring information requests.
Do check it out.