HHS urged crackdown on ‘so-called’ whistleblowers exposing gender medicine, video reveals

(Image by Christopher Ross from Pixabay)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

An office of the Department of Health and Human Services that enforces medical privacy laws expressed concern last summer that “so-called” whistleblowers had exposed “gender-affirming care,” shortly after a surgeon disclosed that Texas Children’s Hospital was secretly transitioning children.

Official video of an HHS committee meeting in July 2023 sheds light on the Biden administration’s agenda just days before federal agents informed Texas surgeon Eithan Haim that he was under investigation. Haim now faces charges of leaking records on sex-change procedures to the news media.

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The video shows Melanie Fontes-Rainer, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, encouraging a crackdown on whistleblowers whose leaks were “in the news” during the public meeting July 20, 2023, of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, an advisory group to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.


“We are seeing instances in some of these states where gender-affirming care is being banned where … somebody that works in a facility is taking it upon themselves to disclose information, whether it’s to a state attorney general or a news publication, using this, sort of, so-called whistleblower hat under state law,” Rainer tells the HHS advisory committee, the video shows.

Rainer goes on to say that these situations make it “really important on the front end to have all the security and privacy controls, who has access to the data, why do they have access to the data … that’s what we can regulate.”

Rainer adds that “reeducating [health care] providers is really important right now” because “these are … things that people did not anticipate having to talk about with staff or trying to face, and I think we’re seeing it more and more.”

Rainer’s HHS Office for Civil Rights is tasked with enforcing the privacy rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which protects private medical information. Her office processes all HIPAA complaints and may choose to refer them to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department charged Haim in May under HIPAA, alleging that the surgeon released protected information on child patients when he gave journalist Chris Rufo records of children with appointments for cross-sex hormones and transgender surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, although the DOJ said it seeks only a monetary judgment.

Haim denies any wrongdoing. The surgeon maintains that it was his “moral responsibility to expose what was happening to these children,” as he wrote in a January op-ed.

Rufo has stated publicly that Haim “redacted all personal information” about patients when sending him the records.

Rainer’s remarks about “so-called” whistleblowers came three days before the Justice Department issued a target letter to Haim and agents with the HHS inspector general’s office visited the surgeon’s home and tried to question him about the leaks.

The media office at the Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment before publication.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]


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