[ Wednesday, June 26, 2002 ]
One lawsuit dismissed
. Congressman Ron Paul and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, plus 3 patients, sued to stop the implementation of the HIPAA privacy regs, based on the fact that they in fact hinder privacy when it's the government doing the looking. Most of the other HIPAA lawsuits make the case that the government goes too far with the regs or otherwise imposes too great a burden on the provider or other covered entity; this case, filed in Houston, went on a different attack. The privacy regs do a lot to make sure providers don't let patients' medical records fall into the hands of people who shouldn't see them, but the same regs also require that providers provide all patient medical records to HHS if they ask for them. In this case, the plaintiffs complained that the government was going too far, and was giving itself the right to look at any patient's medical records for any purpose HHS deemed fit.
The judge threw the case out, though, on the grounds that the claims weren't ripe. Generally, even if you know a law is going to have a bad impact on an individual, the individual doesn't have a right to challenge the law until something bad actually happens. You can't sue for damages that might happen to you; you can only sue for what will happen. That sid, the Judge said the claims weren't ripe.
The doctors and Ron Paul (who is also a doctor, if I recall) plan on appealing, or so says their lawyer (who, when I last saw her, certainly qualified as appealing). Que bien!
Jeff [10:38 AM]
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