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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:55 PM

If Obamacare states that doctors can't ask about guns, where does that leave me?

I honestly don't know the answer to this but I will certainly find out. As a mental health practitioner I am in the same "healthcare provider" bracket in many cases as a physician is. Heck, many mental health providers ARE physicians.

It is often my job to ask suicidal or homicidal sounding people if they have guns. In order to protect myself I have to note that I asked, in case someone commits a violent act. I have also asked people to give up all access to firearms (and sometimes other things as well) until such time as they and others are safe having them around. Under the NRA backed provisions, where one is either not allowed to ask or isn't allowed to document that someone has a weapon, I can be caught in an impossible situation.

If anyone else has addressed this please do point me. When I get time I'll look into it further.

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Reply If Obamacare states that doctors can't ask about guns, where does that leave me? (Original post)
nolabear Jan 2013 OP
spanone Jan 2013 #1
nolabear Jan 2013 #4
spanone Jan 2013 #5
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #2
nolabear Jan 2013 #3
Jeff In Milwaukee Jan 2013 #6
nolabear Jan 2013 #7
Igel Jan 2013 #8
RB TexLa Jan 2013 #9

Response to nolabear (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:57 PM

1. link?

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Response to spanone (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:28 PM

4. Sorry. CNN radio so no link. But see below.

I'm still not certain how this applies to me but there is Mental Health Parity and it can cut more than one way. As I said I'll find out what my fellow practitioners' takes are.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:52 PM

5. thanks.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:26 PM

3. Well not entirely. I could be sued for not asking and sued for asking.

Don't know what the outcome of either would be, but if I write down that someone has a gun (which you can be sure I will) and document my actions to ensure the safety of my patient and others it sounds as if I'm defying that law.

But thanks for the link. I heard this on CNN radio and the mind boggles.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:58 PM

6. That is a little troubling....

If you're treating a patient who is schizophrenic, it would appear that you could ask whether he owns a firearm, but it's not clear to me that you'd be allowed to notify anyone.

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:59 PM

7. That's the case now. But I could note it.

As a court mandated reporter I have to report serious intent to harm and elder and child abuse. But not gun ownership by anyone, which is right IMO. But I should be able to note what was reported to me in confidentially protected notes, for my own info and safety as well as that of my patient. We will see.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:51 PM

8. Sounds like you're okay.

Don't make it systematic--"data." But if it's appropriate and relevant, than ask.

The writer was a bit snarky. She writes, "Sounds like an effective way to stifle research related to gun violence so we can no longer prove that easier access to guns increases the risk of mass violence."

The CDC is under the same restriction, for the simple reason that a number of public health folk--having resolved most of the major issues with things like disease--decided that larger social problems that involved death and illness were also "public health." They redefined the term expansively enough, and courts allowed them to redfine some key terms in legislation, that suddenly gun violence was a public health issue.

So don't keep data on gun possession and ownership, don't make divulging the information relevant, and make sure that should any data miner come to consider your information a mother lode of inforrmation s/he can't. Keep patient records. But if it's not relevant--and, in fact, often it won't be--don't ask.

Then you get no useful data. Just information on some individuals.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:06 PM

9. No one has to answer if their doctor asks them that. You don't have to answer anything a


doctor asks you if you don't want.

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