Mayor’s Attorney Goes After City Attorney’s Office for LAFD Disclosure Policy

Do HIPAA and the California Confidential Medical Information Act bar city emergency services from providing detailed, real-time dispatch information and response times? The Mayor of Los Angeles says they don’t but the city’s attorney seems to think otherwise:

An attorney for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ripped into the City Attorney’s Office today over legal advice given to the Los Angeles Fire Department, and went so far as to invite the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets to sue over the access issues.

The letter from Brian Currey to Chief Deputy City Attorney William Carter is in response to instructions that LAFD officials cease providing basic information on emergency situations because of a federal medical privacy law. Two weeks ago, Villaraigosa directed fire Chief Brian Cummings to continue providing information to reporters until the City Attorney’s Office is able to provide a legal opinion on the matter.

The scathing letter outlines legal cases that support the media’s right to information related to medical and public safety stories. Currey also points out three instances where the City Attorney’s Office incorrectly cited statutory and regulatory provisions in legal documents.

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