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Patrick, Esq.
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Not sure if this is better in employment law, or Military... hi

Resolved Question:

Not sure if this is better in employment law, or Military...

hi there, quick question. I am going through a fbi background check for sf86 clerance at a private company. I answered all the questions as well as i could, with some grey area here and there. There was one place that asked about mental health and if i had any counseling related stuff other than divorce or PST, and the answer is no. But there would be some other related stuff in those records, like i said grey area. Any ways, at the end there was a HIPPA release form, saying only needs to be signed if you answered yes to said question, since i answered no, i didint fill it out. Can the feds still access all of my medical records they want regardless? I tried to be honest with out causing my self any problems, which is what i was advised to do. Any thoughts, im concerned they will take all my medical records and such. And f they happened to find something they thought false, is it really a felony conviction with 5 years in state prison? I'm just trying to work and make an honest living, as a civilian this is STRESSFUL!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Disclosure of medical information pursuant to HIPAA does not require the individual's authorization when the disclosure is made by a covered entity to or in connection with:

Any disclosure required by federal, state, or local regulation, regardless of the scope of the disclosure or the purpose of the disclosure.
Public health authorities.
A person subject to the jurisdiction of the federal Food and Drug Administration.
A person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease.
An employer to (1) conduct workplace medical surveillance or (2) to evaluate whether you have a work-related illness or injury.
Victims of abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
A health oversight agency for audits and investigations.
Court or administrative proceedings in response to a court order, subpoena, or discovery request.
A collection agency for unpaid medical bills.
Coroners and medical examiners.
Funeral directors.
Organ procurement organizations.
A medical researcher with institutional review board approval.
A threat to public safety or public health.
U.S. and foreign military commanders.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to determine eligibility for benefits.
Federal government national security and intelligence officials.
U.S. Department of State to verify health fitness of employees and their families for foreign duty.
Correctional institutions involved in health care of inmates.
Workers compensation uses authorized by state law.

For the actual code sections regarding use and disclosure of medical information pursuant to HIPPA, visit this link:

HIPPA does not appear to specifically permit the government access to records during an employment background check, which is likely why they requested your authorization for a HIPPA release in your application.

An applicant would likely only face adverse consequences for representations he or she made on an employment application if the representations were shown to be willfully and intentionally false. If there is a "grey area," where an answer is arguably complete or incomplete, the response would likely not be regarded as fraudulent and the applicant woudl be unlikely to face criminal consequences of any kind.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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