Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Midnight at the Lost and Found

Interesting case from The Pueblo Chieftan:

Rick is emancipated from his parents but stays in touch with them. They reported him missing on Sept. 22, and didn't find him until a week later.
"It turns out that he checked himself into the mental ward at Parkview hospital, but when we checked with the hospital they flat out told us no, he was not there," Harmes said. "They finally released him (on Sept. 29) and he called us right away."...

"The hospital blamed it on the privacy laws, but I think they dropped the ball," he said. "I would think if people have to go to the law to try to find a person, that would carry some weight. But it didn't."

I'm not really certain that Colorado state law would allow disclosure, but under HIPAA a missing person's case would probably allow at least confirmation that the person was still alive. Mental health issues can be sticky, though, and it looks like the hospital in this case was being over cautious rather than obstructive.


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