Subject: Potential Violence in School Settings Sharing of Protected Health Information (PHI)

Acting to Prevent Potential Gun Violence in School Settings
Sharing of Protected Health Information (PHI)
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Acting to Prevent Potential Gun Violence in School Settings
Sharing of Protected Health Information (PHI)
To assist professionals working in schools, or with school-aged children and young adults, in understanding how they can act to prevent potential gun violence, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has posted resources about disclosure of information when a young person presents a serious danger to themselves or other people. What should you know?
Prevention of a Serious or Imminent Threat of Harm
Key Takeaway Points from OCR Guidance

Health professionals may share PHI to prevent a serious or imminent threat of harm, including with law enforcement, family members of the patient, or other individuals in a position to intervene, like school administrators and security. Click here and here for further information.
Health professionals are allowed to determine whether a serious or imminent threat exists. Click here for more guidance about how to determine when a threat of harm may exist, and the ways that HIPAA permits health professionals to warn others.
If a school-aged person is disqualified from owning a gun based on a mental health assessment, HIPAA permits health professionals to share limited information with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in order to prevent future gun violence. Click here for further information.
Where to go for more information…
The CoE-PHI’s Resource Center includes information briefs from OCR meant to assist in the interpretation and application of PHI laws and regulations when working with students and their families, and law enforcement agencies. 
If you have any questions or comments please contact CoE for PHI Director Michael Graziano at
Resources, training, technical assistance, and any other information provided through the CoE for PHI do not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, including legal advice on other applicable state and federal laws, please seek out local counsel.

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