Jumping Off the Merry-Go-Round: How the Federal Courts Will Reconcile the Circular Deference Problem between HIPAA and FOIA
29 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2009 Last revised: 5 Feb 2014
This Article introduces the conflict between HIPAA and FOIA in Part II, which explains the provisions of HIPAA and FOIA and the HHS regulations that cover access to medical records held by the federal government. Part II delineates the practical realities agency personnel will face when a record request falls under both HIPAA and FOIA. Part IV of this Article highlights how two states have dealt with HIPAA’s conflict with state statutes to see how those courts have resolved a similar conflict. Part V delves into the case law interpreting Exemption Six of FOIA to conclude that HHS’s assessment that Exemption Six should not cause a conflict with FOIA is inaccurate. Finally, this Article argues that a federal court should decide that public access to a medical record held by a government health provider is dictated by FOIA’s Exemption Six instead of HIPAA and HHS regulations.
Keywords: HIPAA, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, medical records, federal government, state statutes
JEL Classification: K10, I10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation