Confidentiality law nixes plan to save county money

NORWICH An effort to save the county money on indigent defense fell flat on its face Tuesday when a county director said privacy law prevents her department from screening potential clients for their ability to pay.

Chenango County Department of Social Services Director Bette Osborne said the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) would make it illegal for her department to screen clients for their ability to pay.

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