NBC News reports that the medical professionals to attended to Donald Trump on his mystery 2019 trip to Walter Reed hospital were given nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) before they treated him. Two doctors refused to sign the legally-binding documents and others were found.
Anyone providing medical services is already forbidden by federal law from disclosing patient information. Stuffing contracts under their noses is paranoid behavior that heightens suspicions that the visit represented a medical crisis, not the routine tests that the White House claims.
The existing legal protection for all patients under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, raises the question of why Trump would insist that staff members at Walter Reed sign NDAs.
"Any physician caring for the President is bound by patient physician confidentiality guaranteed under HIPAA, and I'm not going to comment on internal procedures beyond that," White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. In addition, all personnel assigned to the White House Medical Unit, which treats the president and the vice president day to day, are required to have special "Yankee White" security clearance. To obtain the clearance, they must be U.S. citizens and undergo extensive background checks.