Thursday, June 30, 2005

Moonlight in Vermont

From the Bennington (Vermont) Banner comes a story of a defense attorney arguing that HIPAA prohibits the disclosure of mental health records from the state prison in this case:

"Prosecutors are seeking a Burlington murder suspect's medical records from the Vermont Department of Corrections to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial.
The Corrections Department records, which date back eight years, are critical to supporting or disproving whether Gerald Montgomery is mentally incompetent, Mary Morrissey, a deputy Chittenden County state's attorney, told Vermont District Court Judge Michael Kupersmith on Tuesday.
"This is a man charged with murder and kidnapping," Morrissey said."

An independant, court-appointed psychiatrist says that Montgomery hears voices, but could be faking, so the state wants to see his records from prison to see if there is anything that would support this.

"Brenner also argued that Montgomery's health records are private and their confidentiality protected by state and federal law -- specifically the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA."

Well.... no. The Privacy rule specifically lists this sort of disclosure as allowed when requested by court order. State law I don't know about, but I suspect it also has this as an exception.

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