One frequent question that arises from individuals to businesses is whether a patient has to disclose firearms on medical forms provided by a health care provider. More and more, this question is appearing on medical forms. Although the answer to this question has not been developed by cases and statutes with any degree, the answers appear to be “Yes” in some circumstances.
Specifically, it is a federal penal act to make a false statement relating to heath care matters in collection with payment for medical services by health care benefit programs. A “health care benefit program” is any public or private plan or contract under which any medical benefit, item, or services is provided to any individual. 18 U.S.C. §24(b).
To the extent health care provide is included within this definition, the failure to disclose firearms subjects the person to fine or imprisonment up to five years or both. The verbatim controlling statutes is as follows:
“Whoever, in any matter involving a health care benefit program, knowingly or willfully falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme or device a material fact; or makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any materially false writing or document the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry in connection with the delivery of or payment of health care benefits, items, or services, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned.” 18 U.S.C. § 1035.
While state and federal constitutional rights provide the right to keep and bear arms, this constitutional right does not appear to extend to disclosure to medical care providers if insurance is paying for the claims. Our Society has a rather limited tolerance for any actual, albeit technical, violation of laws related to firearms. And ignorance of the law is not generally a defense.
We hope this blog post helps you understand that even simple medical forms must be completely and accurately filled out. Inattention or failure to disclose the ownership and possession of firearms may indeed be a crime. At Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., we hope this blog post helps you understand and follow or seek to change all laws. Laws make our Society function and permeate virtually every aspect of life, including medical forms. If this blog post has helped you understand this facet of the law, it has met it goal. This blog post was written by attorney Bryan L. Ciyou, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., Indianapolis, Indiana.