The Department of Health and Human Services has modified the HIPAA Privacy Rule to permit certain covered entities to disclose to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System the identities of individuals who are prohibited from having a firearm, for reasons related to mental health.

Under the Privacy Rule modification, certain covered entities are now permitted to disclose limited information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which reviews criminal records and other prohibiting data to determine whether federally licensed firearms dealers can legally transfer a gun to a prospective purchaser.

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