NRA-ILA: NY Hospital Study: Shilling for the SAFE Act?

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The NRA asks if a recent NY hospital study is shilling for the SAFE Act IMG NRA-ILA

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Northwell Health, the largest health system and largest private employer in New York State, has announced a research study called, bizarrely, “We Ask Everyone”.

“We Ask Everyone. Firearm Safety is a Health Issue.” The project will require, as part of routine screening of emergency room patients, asking questions about firearm ownership and guns in the home. Implementation will begin at three Northwell hospitals initially (two on Long Island and one on Staten Island), with plans to expand the program to include “inpatient and ambulatory settings” across all of its facilities.

One of the physicians heading the project states that the objective of the universal screening is to create “opportunities for patients to speak with their trusted clinical teams about firearm safety and recognize firearm safety as a health care issue,” and that, “by asking the right questions and providing the right education and connections to resources,” the project “can prove to be a significant tool in fighting the gun violence epidemic.”

Northwell Health has reportedly refused to disclose what the questions will be, although the responses will be “scored and embedded into the patient’s electronic health record,” and used to  “establish next steps for care.”

It’s not clear how this squares with the Affordable Care Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 300gg-17(c), and the prohibition against a health care provider, a wellness and prevention plan manager, or a health, wellness, or prevention services organization requiring disclosure of or collecting information on lawful ownership of firearms or firearms stored or kept in a residence, but the program is being funded by a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Residents of the Empire State need to understand how “We Ask Everyone” dovetails with an existing law on mandatory mental health reporting and disarming gun owners.

Under 2013’s SAFE Act, the drastic gun control legislation passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, an amendment to the state Mental Hygiene Law created a mandatory reporting requirement for mental health professionals. Physicians, psychologists, registered nurses, and licensed clinical social workers providing treatment services are now required to report any client that, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, the treatment provider considers “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.” If a local government official agrees with the report, the report must be shared with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to disarm persons in possession of a state firearms license and guns.

The law confines the use of the report exclusively to the question of the person’s ability to own or possess firearms; it is not used for treatment or to safeguard other persons who may be at risk.

Persons who have been reported do not have access to the report or to the name of the reporting treatment provider. There is no due process, hearing, adjudication of mental illness or determination of dangerousness, or a requirement for a court order. Once the division of criminal justice services is notified, if the person has a firearm license or has applied for one, the license is automatically revoked, and the person must surrender the license and all firearms, or the firearms will be confiscated by law enforcement. The whole scheme rests on an assertion by a treatment provider that cannot be challenged by the person affected.

Many in the mental health care community resented being transformed into agents of the state and questioned the effectiveness of the law. The New York State Psychiatric Association, an association representing psychiatrists practicing in the state that “supports gun control measures in general,” opposed the reporting requirement and its focus on guns rather than mental health:

“Following discussions with OMH [New York State Office of Mental Health] staff, it has become clear that the intent of the SAFE Act reporting requirement is solely to limit access to legal firearms and not to protect individuals from imminent risk of harm to self or others.”

New York Times article published the year after the requirement became law confirmed there were significant failures in design and implementation. First, the “threshold for reporting is so low” that “frontline mental health workers feel compelled to routinely report mentally ill patients brought to an emergency room.” The resulting volume of reports meant that local health officials were rubber-stamping reports, with no effective oversight or review before a report was passed on to the division of criminal justice services. There was also no way to verify independently whether the law was being applied appropriately and whether the individuals being reported did in fact pose a risk of serious harm.

By 2014, over 34,000 individuals had been reported under this SAFE Act provision; another source suggests that as of late 2015, about 2,000 New Yorkers a month were being added to the database. The Times article observed that “the overwhelming majority of reports from mental health professionals are coming from hospitals … with an emergency room and inpatient psychiatric services.”

Under the Northwell project, regardless of the reason, a person presents themselves at the emergency room –food poisoning, car accident, or COVID -19 – the patient will face questioning about guns. In a public health context where firearms are viewed as unhealthy and gun ownership as pathological, it isn’t terribly hard to imagine how this information may be used to support a claim that a gun owner “is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

While New York’s website advises that the SAFE Act “should not dissuade any individual from seeking mental health services they need,” the reality is that it forces gun owners to choose between getting such treatment and retaining their gun rights, and makes everyone less safe. “We Ask Everyone” implicates the same dysfunctional dynamic.


About NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess, and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

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The other Jim
The other Jim
19 days ago

The Newsday article written by David Reich-Hale ([email protected]) with a smiley picture (because another easy $1.4 Million dollars from the US Taxpayers to Northwell Health for another anti-second amendment sham) of Northwell Health CEO Michael J. Dowling is Thursday September 24, 2020. Shouldn’t Donald Trump be to blame for this theft of another 1.4 million dollars of US Taxpayer Money for another dangerous anti-second amendment plan against the law-abiding gun owner? The 1.4 Million dollars is from the National Institute of Health; this agency is under the US Department of Health and Human Services. The US Department of Health and… Read more »

Donttreadonme
Donttreadonme
19 days ago

Sadly, everyone needs to LIE. I know, lying goes against what most of us believe, but the left does it without batting an eye so we need to give it a try.

If you answer “none of your business” they will mark a box that says “likely owns evil guns”. The left will use this information to strip us of our rights!

Sisu
Sisu
19 days ago
Reply to  Donttreadonme

@Donttreadonme. I do have a problem with those who lie, but we are in the throes of a “civil war” precipitated and perpetuated by morally, intellectually and criminally corrupt “elected officials”, bureaucrats/technocrats and an abundance of sociopaths and pathologic liars. As a consequence of the “tyrannical oligarchs” continuing to pass unlawful laws we all have become “outlaws” not “criminals”; the difference being the unlawful nature of “laws” (including statutes, regulations, rules, etc.) and motivation – mens rea is no longer required. As you suggest – different rules must now apply. I (am not a lawyer) suggest when being verbally interviewed:… Read more »

nrringlee
nrringlee
19 days ago

Now George Orwell’s “1984” will come to you wiht your tylenol. Welcome to the world dreamed of and envisioned by progressives over 120 years ago. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. You have no rights, no privacy and certainly get no respect from the corporate/government complex. Some clown in a white coat who has never held a firearm in his or her hand will now judge whether or not you are competent to safely own, possess, store and use firearms. My answer to this is the same as the universal answer I give to all federal law enforcement: See my… Read more »

Arny
Arny
17 days ago
Reply to  nrringlee

They win again. The only ones that will benefit is the very same kooks. I’m sorry it will be over my DEAD carcass. If it comes to my state.

Last edited 17 days ago by Arny
Sisu
Sisu
19 days ago

Sadly this is not a NYS issue alone. As ERPOs have the same intrusive consequence, along with the ever increasing digitizing of medical records. Similarly, there are CWL issuing authorities in NYS that require the applicant to list all prescription medications taken current and in “x” years prior to the application. One is forced to waive HIPPA protections or expose themselves by omitting potentially material information on the application. The SAFE Act also requires ex parte reporting of certain patient medical conditions by MDs and other licensed medical professionals. Physician-Patient Privilege is no longer “absolute”; lots of “make believe” protocols,… Read more »

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
19 days ago

If any health care worker asks you about firearms just tell them” it’s none of your damn business”.

RoyD
RoyD
19 days ago
Reply to  uncle dudley

I don’t remember being asked about firearms by any medical people in my lifetime. Maybe having lived the last 44+ years in the great State of Oklahoma might have something to do with that. And living in the reddest city in the reddest county in that State.

Dave in Fairfax
Editor
Dave in Fairfax
19 days ago
Reply to  RoyD

RoyD,
My Wife’s cardiologist and I talk about it every time we meet. Compare targets, ammo pricing, new toys. The Whole shooting match, as it were.
Our Primary was stationed in the CB camp across the road from where my shop was. Maybe choosing your Docs has something to do with it, as well.

RoyD
RoyD
19 days ago

I was referring to those people with which I have not had a long time relationship. My primary and I talk about guns just about every time I see him. But then, we go back almost twenty years. He likes to pick my brain concerning firearms because he knows the wealth of knowledge contained within. His only regret is that he cannot find the time to shoot. It’s even worse now with this COVID stuff.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
19 days ago

My last doctors husband was a competition shooter for sigsauer and a gun smith for their competition guns. He builds pistols in his home just outside our city limits.

Arny
Arny
17 days ago
Reply to  RoyD

Hell the VA gave me free locks for my firearms a few years back. lol I forget why. During Obummers reign.