RI police, hospital clash over question of privacy

Local police are livid at Rhode Island Hospital because they say officials there hindered a homicide investigation over the weekend by refusing to provide details of a man’s injuries, citing privacy laws.


In a statement released Tuesday, the hospital said it was merely following the state’s medical privacy law, which is stricter than the federal law known as HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which after years of discussion went into effect in 2003.

“It is important to understand that the Rhode Island Health Care Confidentiality Law is more restrictive than federal HIPAA privacy laws on what information we can or cannot release to law enforcement, and that is what we must follow,” the hospital said. “These laws are in place to protect the privacy of patients in Rhode Island.”

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