Michael Morisy

From a Massachusetts reader: 

Ran into an interesting situation this morning and wanted to ask your thoughts: Requested, through the town fire chief, the incident report on a guy who fell off a building yesterday and was Medflighted out of town. Fire Department did the manual work of getting the guy from the building site to the helicopter. I was looking for his name and address to I could check condition.

The chief told me that HIPAA prevented the release of the info. I don’t know that it does or doesn’t – first time I’ve heard this response; usually there’s no problem getting victim info.

Shawn Musgrave

It’s a few years old, but this article at RCFP has some interesting thoughts on HIPAA versus public records: http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news/open-records-law-trumps-hipaa-records-request-case

Chris Meller

I know this is a little old now, but I just saw it.

HHS actually has a FAQ entry specifically about this.

Essentially, state law trumps the Privacy Rule of HIPAA, so it’s up to the Massachusetts FOIA law.

Carlton Purvis

Were there any police on scene? If so, the have to collect a lot of the same information as the firefighters. Calls they show up to have to be documented with as much info as they can get and I’ve never had HIPAA issues with the police.

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