Do the absentee ballot forms for Lancaster residents violate HIPAA?

The issue of HIPAA Privacy Rules being violated was raised when in Lancaster County, PA, absentee ballot forms were to be filled by the Lancaster residents. People protested that the county’s absentee ballot forms violated HIPAA privacy rules as the forms required them to fill in details of the exact nature of the medical condition or disability that prevents them from voting in person as well as including the name and address of their doctor. As the form is mailed, and has to be returned, on a postcard leading some residents who needed to file the form to wonder if this information being out in the open in this manner was a violation of their HIPAA rights.

Larissa Bedrick, a spokeswoman for the state Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, HIPAA, denied that this is any sort of violation of HIPAA. She explained to concerned locals via the local Lancaster Online website, “restricts health-care providers and insurance companies from releasing that information. … It doesn’t apply to settings outside of that, including patients voluntarily releasing their own personal data.”

Lancaster County also suggested that the people could put the postcard in an envelope before mailing it if they were concerned that their Private information could be revealed to reveal to anyone who happened to work at the post office.