The quirky Upper East Side doctor, Harold N. Bornstein, apparently can’t stop talking about his now very famous patient, President Donald Trump. A new tell-all piece published in The New York Times is almost uncomfortable to read because it is so personal. Bornstein told reporters that Trump takes Propecia which is marketed to treat male baldness. But some are questioning if Dr. Bornstein’s “meandering” interview with The Times is a violation of HIPAA, which is a federal law that requires doctors to protect patients medical records and keep health issues confidential.
“Assuming (Trump) bills a health plan or insurance company (almost guaranteed he does), then HIPAA precludes non-consensual disclosure,” attorney Robert Barnes told LawNewz.com.
In the interview, Bornstein admits he hasn’t spoken to the President since he’s been elected and no one from Trump’s staff has asked him for copies of the President’s medical records. Bornstein gave absolutely no indication that Trump gave him permission to speak about his personal medical issues with the media. We reached out to the doctor to find out, but have not heard back.
“The disclosure that Mr. Trump uses a prostate-related drug to maintain growth of his scalp hair, which has not been publicly known, appears to solve a riddle of why Mr. Trump has a very low level of prostate specific antigen, or PSA, a marker for prostate cancer. Mr. Trump takes a small dose of the drug, finasteride, which lowers PSA levels,” the report reads.
Dr. Bornstein told the newspaper some other intimate details about the President like how Trump acts during a medical examination and how he was also prescribed ontetracycline, a common antibiotic, to control rosacea.
Even NYT’s Maggie Habermas, the reporter who contributed to the story, commented on how the interview appeared to walk a legal line.
The degree to which this doctor has violated confidentiality repeatedly is really something. https://t.co/3vJ1SiFM0U
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 2, 2017
@maggieNYT This… has to be a HIPAA thing, right? Somewhere?
— Katherine Miller (@katherinemiller) February 2, 2017
On top of HIPAA, New York State law says that patient information must be kept confidential by doctors:
(A provider must) maintain, at all times, the confidentiality of any and all patient information to which the certificate holder has access concerning patients alive or deceased, including, but not limited to, patient names, conditions, treatments, descriptions, communications, images or other identifying features, irrespective of whether the patient’s name is included, which may be transmitted by electronic or other media
Dr. Bornstein gained national attention during the election when he penned a letter about Trump’s health saying, “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” A violation of HIPAA can result in civil penalties.