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HIPAA Used to Keep Public Health Citations Sealed

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  1. Freedom of Information
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How do you stretch a law? Cincinnati provides a lesson in a brief filed in the Ohio Supreme Court defending the Health Department’s decision to withhold public health citations issued against owners of buildings where a child has been found to have high levels of iron in his or her blood. The Health Department cites HIPAA, which mandates that medical records of patients be kept private. No medical records are included in the citations but the city says, “It is reasonable to believe that (the records’) disclosure could facilitate the identification of the individual children who were tested.” And that, it argues, would violate HIPAA. (10/12/05)