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December 9, 2022

Tri-State Fire Protection District – Chief releases personal medical information in FOIA request

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 12, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd)

One would think when you reach the level of a Chief Officer, let alone Fire Chief, you would understand the ramifications of releasing personal medical information of your employees without their permission, however, it appears that is not the case for Chief Mancione, the FOIA officer for the Tri-State Fire Protection District.

A FOIA request for training records turned up numerous pages of personal medical vitals information that included before and after pulse, blood pressure, and, respiration during an SCBA consumption drill. (SCBA – Self Contained Breathing Apparatus).

Although the HIPPA law may not apply to the Fire District as they are not a health care provider, there are certain standards to be followed when it comes to personnel records as well as laws when it comes to the release of those records.

At a minimum, the FOIA law was not followed and I suspect the next meeting will be filled with a lot of fire fighters who have a lot of questions for their two trustees, and rightfully so. I mention two trustees because they lost one the day he moved his residency out of the district, which was covered in this article.

Section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act outlines what qualifies as an exempt record.  In the event the records contain information that is not exempt they shall redact the exempt material and provide the rest.  In this case I guess they either don’t know the law or were too lazy to protect the rights of their employees.

Exemptions applicable in this situation:

7(b) Private information, unless disclosure is required by another provision of this Act, a State or federal law or a court order. (personal medical information is private)

7(c) Personal information contained within public records, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless the disclosure is consented to in writing by the individual subjects of the information. “Unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” means the disclosure of information that is highly personal or objectionable to a reasonable person and in which the subject’s right to privacy outweighs any legitimate public interest in obtaining the information.

I suspect most would agree that the release of any personal medical information is in fact an unwarranted invasion of their personal privacy.

Below are two sets of documents, the first one page and the second you can scroll through 5 pages of records.  We redacted the personal medical information.

 [documentcloud url=”http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2271383-img153.html” container=”#DV-viewer-2271383-img153″]

[documentcloud url=”http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2271384-img152.html” container=”#DV-viewer-2271384-img152″]

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3 Comments
  • Kelly
    Posted at 14:40h, 13 August

    *HIPAA

  • Dave M.
    Posted at 21:17h, 27 September

    This is not a medical record, but in fact a training record. None of these people were patients. The participants never had to sign a Hippa form before their vitals were taken. This is not a Hippa violation at all.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 22:01h, 27 September

      Dave, did you not read the article? “Although the HIPPA law may not apply to the Fire District as they are not a health care provider…”
      It is a personnel file of which their medical information is contained in it. Releasing a personnel file requires that persons permission.
      If you are justifying this guys actions then rest assured you are on the wrong side of what is happening in this country.

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