(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today sent a letter to Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Kathy Kliebert urging an investigation and appropriate action against the abortion facility known as the Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge. Vitter says that Delta Clinic may have directly violated the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by mishandling its clients’ private health information.
“If allegations that Delta Clinic mishandled patients’ private health information are true, there needs to be serious consequences for the abortion facility,” Vitter said. “To protect the health and safety of women and children in Louisiana, DHH needs to thoroughly investigate this clinic.”
The Delta Clinic came under scrutiny in 2011 for its connection to Kermit Gosnell, Pennsylvania abortion practitioner, and several of his employees, who were charged with murder and other crimes related to running an abortion practice. Vitter called for a subsequent investigation into the Delta Clinic. Click here to read Vitter’s 2011 letter to DHH.
The text of Vitter’s letter today is below.
May 20, 2014
Office of the Secretary
Department of Health and Hospitals
P.O. Box 629
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
Dear Secretary Kliebert:
It has recently come to my attention that the Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, Inc. (“Delta Clinic”), located at 756 Colonial Drive in Baton Rouge, may have directly violated the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by mishandling the private health information of its clients. I request that you investigate these allegations and, if true, impose serious consequences for the unlawful actions that occurred at this abortion facility.
As you know, HIPAA exists to protect patients’ right to privacy and requires Delta Clinic to acquire a signed disclosure from any patient before releasing any of her private information to anyone else, especially the public. I believe my office has received credible information that Delta Clinic has clearly broken this law, and thus should be held accountable for its illegal practices.
As Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals for our state, I know that you are committed to the safety and health of our citizens and to the full enforcement of the law. The abortion industry in Louisiana, and the Delta Clinic in particular, have a long and undisputed history of reckless and illegal behavior and disregard, not only for the privacy concerns of their clients, but also for the most basic health and safety regulations. These clinics simply must be held to the same standards as medical facilities, and I am sure you agree there is no room for compromise when it comes to the protection of women and the lives of the vulnerable unborn.
Again, I respectfully request that your department immediately and thoroughly investigate the allegations referenced herein, and take all necessary action by involving other appropriate federal and state agencies and imposing serious consequences if the allegations are proven true. I believe they will be.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your work for Louisiana. I look forward to your written response and stand ready to help in any way I can.