HHS Investigating VUMC for Releasing Transgender Health Records

Vanderbilt has released medical records of more than 100 patients from its transgender clinic and elsewhere in the hospital to Tennessee’s attorney general.

HHS Investigating VUMC for Releasing Transgender Health Records

Image via Adobe, by Vitali Vodalazskyi

Nashville, Tennessee – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is investigating Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) for releasing the complete medical records of more than 100 patients from its transgender clinic and elsewhere in the hospital to Tennessee’s attorney general since December 2022.

Two weeks ago, two patients sued Vanderbilt, accusing VUMC of violating their privacy rights. The medical center is coming under fire for only informing their patients of the release of their records in June, reports the Associated Press.

The two patients suing VUMC said Tennessee authorities and Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti have a track record of targeting the transgender community and that Vanderbilt should have removed their personally identifying information before giving over the records to the attorney general, reports AP and WPLN. The lawsuit seeks class-action status, claiming the plaintiffs, some of whom only had initial office visits for gender-affirming services, are “terrified for their physical safety, have had significant anxiety and distress that has impacted their ability to work, has caused them to increase home security measures, and drop out of activities in which they normally would participate.”

However, Skrmetti said the review of the records is just part of a “run of the mill” fraud investigation and isn’t directed at the patients or family members.

VUMC says it was required by law to turn over the records requested by Skrmetti’s office.

Tennessee is one of many states across the nation that have recently banned gender-affirming care for transgender minors, despite medical experts saying the treatment is vital for the physical and mental health and safety of transgender youth. Last year, Vanderbilt paused all gender-affirming surgeries for minors.

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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