[ Friday, August 31, 2007 ]


Virginia Tech: I was travelling yesterday so I didn't get to post on this, but the Virginia governor's review panel looking into the Virginia Tech shootings published its report yesterday. The New York Times article is here, the Review Panel report is here.

Much blame gets laid at the failure to recognize that this guy was a whack job prior to his shooting spree. He had received mental health services (he was having suicidal thoughty), but that information wasn't widely spread. I haven't read the report yet, but the news article indicates that the university had the ability to spread the word about Cho's mental issues without violating HIPAA, but didn't do so.

I've noted often enough that there's a dichotomy between perfect privacy and perfect healthcare. That same dichotomy exists between perfect privacy and perfect security. How many college students seek mental health care because they're having suicidal feelings? How many are helped? How many turn into crazed gunmen? How many would seek that care if they knew it would be widely publicized? The fact that the school could have disclosed Cho's mental issues doesn't mean it should have. And frankly, I'm pretty suspicious of the the post-facto determination that they should have. Until I read the report, I'm not even willing to acknowledge that they even could have disclosed that information. (One part of the report I've actually seen indicates that the information could be shared "in potentially dangerous situations;" again, how many similar fact situations have occurred at colleges across the country where what became a dangerous situation at Blacksburg ended without incident elsewhere?)

I can't help but get the feeling that this is just scapegoating. (What, scapegoating from the New York Times and a governmental task force? Heaven forbid.)

Jeff [11:54 AM]

Comments: Post a Comment
http://www.blogger.com/template-edit.g?blogID=3380636 Blogger: HIPAA Blog - Edit your Template