Russia’s Health Ministry introduces bill allowing law enforcement access to medical records of ‘socially dangerous’ patients

Posted: Tue, 16 Apr 2024 22:21:47 UTC+3

At the request of Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry, the Health Ministry has drafted a bill that would grant law enforcement access to confidential medical records if patients are deemed “prone to committing socially dangerous acts.”

The draft law was supported by a government commission, report Vedomosti and TASS, citing their own sources.

Under current Russian law, patients with chronic and prolonged mental disorders characterized by “severe and enduring or frequently worsening symptoms” may be subject to monitoring. The proposed bill extends this provision to include individuals inclined to commit “socially dangerous acts.” The police are expected to monitor such individuals “to prevent them from committing crimes and misdemeanors,” TASS quotes the bill as saying.

If the bill is passed, medical institutions would be authorized to disclose an individual’s medical information without their consent or that of their legal representative if requested by the police for monitoring purposes. TASS also reported that disclosing confidential medical information to inform the police about such individuals would be permitted.

Vedomosti noted that the police would receive personal medical information as part of post-release monitoring of individuals released from prison. The publication also pointed out that the bill’s scope includes people with alcohol and drug dependencies.

A Health Ministry representative told Vedomosti that only a small fraction of people with mental disorders pose a danger to themselves or others, but they require special attention from healthcare professionals and law enforcement agencies.

According to current Russian legislation, confidential medical information can be disclosed at the request of certain investigative authorities or the court for investigative or trial purposes. The criminal justice system can also request such information in connection with serving a sentence and other related matters.

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