Final Rule on Background Check Mental Health Data Advances
A federal regulation to allow the sharing of pertinent mental health information during a background check for the purchase of a firearm is in its final stage of review by the Obama Administration. This rule would clarify HIPAA privacy regulations to explain that health care providers are permitted to disclose to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System the minimum necessary identifying information about patients who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, have been determined to be a danger to themselves or others, or have been determined to lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. Providers would not be able to disclose clinical, diagnostic, or other mental health information. No details are yet available on when the final rule will be released to the public.