(CN) – The names of 957 people buried in an asylum cemetery are public records and should be released to a historical society, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled.
Justice Heavican granted a petition filed by the Adams County Historical Society, which sought the list of names to preserve historical data.
Nancy Kenyoun, the custodian of records at the Hastings Regional Center, argued that the burial records included private medical information that was covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The trial court agreed with Kenyoun, but Heavican reversed the decision, despite finding that HIPAA covers the medical records of deceased individuals.
The court recognized an exception for records that are required to be released by public records laws.
“The records sought by ACHS do not include diagnosis and treatment information, but instead are limited to the names of the deceased and the locations of burial,” Heavican wrote.