O’Ryan Johnson reports:
Police, fire and EMS unions are accusing the Boston Public Health Commission of going behind the backs of bombing victims to collect private medical ?information about those who sought “primary care and other outpatient” help days and weeks after the bombings.
The commission has sent letters to 13 area hospitals and 25 health clinics seeking the data.
The move has outraged the city’s first responders — some whom are only now seeking help themselves with mental health issues — who argue the search ?exposes a victim’s confidential medical information without consent.
Read more in the Boston Herald.
I can understand that a government agency may want to/need to know about the scope of public health needs, but this is not the way to do it. You can ask, but should not demand providers turn over patients’ names, birthdays, addresses, cellphone numbers, chief complaint and diagnoses of victims.
Is the city exempt from HIPAA under these circumstances? I’m not sure, but I don’t think this is the way to do things.