ABOUT THE RULES FOR HIPAA AND FERPA
COVERING AN EDUCATION RECORD
An Alert by Anita Hoge
EDUCATION RECORDS ARE NOT COVERED BY HIPAA.
NO MENTAL HEALTH INTERVENTIONS AT SCHOOL ARE COVERED BY HIPAA.
Explanation of HIPPA and FERPA-Early Childhood Data can be found in this document: A Look at Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Data System http://www.ncsl.org/portals/1/documents/Educ/PAEarlyChild-Stedron.pdf
|Replacing Mom and Dad is the above depicted government bureaucracy|
NOTE: Before proceeding, the common ordinary American parent and citizen must first untangle the complicated government bureaucratic acronyms. On page 2 of this document we learn the following:
- OCDEL - Office of Child Development and Early Learning
- PELICAN - Pennsylvania’s Enterprise to Link Information for Children Across Networks
- ELN - Early Learning Network
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are the primary federal statutes that relate to early childhood data. Because establishment of OCDEL combined staff from two agencies, the departments of Public Welfare and Education, many issues of privacy and data sharing related to these federal laws were addressed when OCDEL was formed.
FERPA applies to information in programs supported by federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. In general, the programs previously administered by the Department of Education—such as Early Intervention programs for children ages 3 to5 and Head Start—are covered by FERPA. The Department of Public Welfare is a covered entity under HIPAA. Therefore, protected health information for recipients of services in those programs previously administered by the Department of Public Welfare—such as subsidized child care and information relating to the Medicaid program— are covered by HIPAA, in addition to specific confidentiality requirements of the particular programs. The Early Intervention program for children from birth to age 3, which had been administered by the Department of Public Welfare, is an exception. All Early Intervention programs, which are supported by federal funds through the U.S. Department of Education, are covered by FERPA.
HIPAA contains an express provision that, if information is covered by FERPA, it is not covered by HIPAA. In Pennsylvania, this means information about a child concerning a program administered by the state Department of Education and/or funded by the U.S. Department of Education is covered by FERPA. As long as this data flows upward from ELN into the K-12 PIMS system, HIPAA does not apply. School districts will not receive information about a child’s prior involvement in early childhood programs covered by HIPAA. Instead, when a child enters kindergarten with a unique PA Secure ID already assigned by the Department of Education, the electronic record will indicate only that the child is already known to OCDEL. The ELN data system also collects Social Security numbers for children on a voluntary basis pursuant to the federal Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. §552a).