Visits that disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly made to urgent care centers and other healthcare facilities are making headlines as authorities work to prove 18 federal charges against him, ranging from kidnapping to sexual assault to producing and possessing child pornography. The latest bombshell in the years-long investigation is that Kelly may have exposed his victims to sexually transmitted diseases in the course of his alleged assaults. To that end, investigators have obtained records from visits he made to University Health Systems and Urgent Care facilities and to Walgreens locations in Illinois. Kelly’s representatives say there’s no validity to the STD claims. Whether they’re true and of value in the case or not, however, these developments highlight the murky question of when (if ever) urgent care operators are obligated to share personal health information with law enforcement. As noted in a JUCM article entitled Law Enforcement and Healthcare: When Consent, Privacy, and Safety Collide, there are situations in which it is not only permissible, but ethical to do so. Those situations can be summed as 1) under certain conditions when required by state law; 2) when law enforcement requests relate to identification and location of a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; 3) when a provider is a victim or a crime occurred on the facility premises; 4) to apprehend an alleged perpetrator; or 5) to avert a serious threat to health or safety. Even then, though, disclosures are limited to name and address, date and place of birth, Social Security number, ABO blood type and rh factor, type of injury, date and time of treatment, date and time of death, and a description of distinguishing physical characteristics (ie, height, weight, gender, race, hair and eye color, facial hair, scars, and tattoos). For more details, read the entire article in the JUCM archive.
Urgent Care Records Make Headlines in R. Kelly Sex Assault Case