Last night, Sheriff Ivey was a panelist on the Brevard County Gun Rights Preservation Forum hosted by the Florida Republican Liberty Caucus and the Brevard County Trump Club.
During the forum, moderator Bill Mick asked Ivey,
“Is the problem not that we’re attacking the implement and not the potential dangerous person?”
“The problem is not anything to do with the 2nd Amendment or any of that. the problem is with the mental health system in this country is broken, throw the baby out with the bath water. If you want to reform something, reform HIPAA.
So that I can now see what a doctor has said about this person. That person can be Baker Acted and show up 3 days later, and I have no way of knowing what the doctor has even said about them.
You start talking about reforming HIPAA and people cringe. The reality is our mental health system is broken. We’ve got to a point where it was more important to save money than to save lives. “
According the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It is a federal law that sets a national standard to protect medical records and other personal health information.
The rule defines “protected health information” as health information that:
- Identifies an individual and
- Is maintained or exchanged electronically or in hard copy.
If the information has any components that could be used to identify a
person, it would be protected. The protection would stay with the information as long as the information is in the hands of a covered entity or a business associate. The protections apply to individually identifiable information in any form, electronic or non-electronic. The paper progeny of electronic information is covered (i.e. the information would not lose its protections simply because it is printed out of a computer), and oral communications are also covered.
More information can be found here. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/m2e411a1.htm
The “Baker Act” Ivey refers to in his response is The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971 (Florida Statute 394.451-394.47891 [2009 rev.])
The Baker Act allows for involuntary examination (what some call emergency or involuntary commitment), which can be initiated by judges, law enforcement officials, physicians, or mental health professionals. There must be evidence that the person:
- possibly has a mental illness.
- is in danger of becoming a harm to self, harm to others, or is self neglectful.
Examinations may last up to 72 hours (3 days) after a person is deemed medically stable and occurs locally here in Brevard at Circles of Care.
Since 2015, Sheriff Ivey has sat on the Board of Directors for Circles of Care and is charged with approval of the annual budget, and oversight of their financial records and audits, among other duties.
It is not clear what Ivey would like to see reformed in the Patient Privacy Laws, other than he would like to have access to the records.
It is also not clear what role law enforcement has in evaluating patient medical records, their qualifications to do so, nor their right to do so. This forum was specifically about the 2nd Amendment, however there are many Amendment’s in the Constitution (which Ivey bragged about having tattooed on his arm) that cover the Right to Privacy.
- The First Amendment protects the privacy of beliefs
- The Third Amendment protects the privacy of the home against the use of it for housing soldiers
- The Fourth Amendment protects privacy against unreasonable searches
- The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination, which in turn protects the privacy of personal information
- The Ninth Amendment says that the “enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.” This has been interpreted as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments.
The right to privacy is most often cited in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, which states:
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
As stated earlier, it is unclear what Ivey’s intentions are in gaining access to this protected information in regards to the 2nd Amendment. What has been stated before in this scenario is to remove guns from the possession of those thought to have mental illnesses or pose a threat. President Trump himself drew criticism for this position when he said to “take the guns first and have due process later.” That position would be contrary to the positions Ivey stated previously in the forum.
What is clear is that one cannot protect an Amendment of the Constitution of the United States by violating the others.
If you would like to see the full video of the event, it can be accessed here.