HIPAA Update

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule modifying the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Now according to this recent HIPAA update, covered entities that order individuals into mental institutions or declare them incompetent can pass this information on to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without fear of violating HIPAA.

The amendment generally only applies to covered entities that make commitment decisions. No diagnostic or clinical information is reported to NICS. Instead, the only information covered entities report is that the individual has been involuntarily committed and thus falls under the “federal mental health prohibitor” for gun ownership.