[ Friday, December 16, 2005 ]


Interesting New Jersey case: Guy shows up at Jersey Shore Medical Center emergency room. There's a camera crew there from the New York Time's TV affiliate the Learning Channel. Dude signs a release and is filmed for inclusion in the Learning Channel's show, "Trauma: Life in the ER." Later, he decides he didn't want to be filmed, only signed the release because he was drugged, and sues NYT, Learning Channel, and the Hospital.

He seeks discovery of all people filmed by the camera crew for the program at the hospital. The hospital gives him the names of everyone who signed a release, but doesn't give him the names of everyone else who might've been filmed but didn't sign a release, on the grounds that releasing those names would violate two New Jersey legal protections, the Hospital Patients Bill of Rights and the Physician-Patient Privilege. The lower court says the laws don't apply because the mere name of someone who was in the hospital doesn't tell you anything about what they were there for or what their medical conditions were, and besides, the hospital let the Learning Channel film those folks, so it waived the "right" to keep their names private.

The NJ appellate court (rightly, I believe) said, "uh-uh."

[what is wrong with me? "Guy"? "Dude"? "uh-uh"? I swear, I'm losin' it.]

Privacy and confidentiality of all records relating to treatment includes the fact that treatment was sought or received. Obviously, that's PHI under HIPAA, but the court here declines to discuss HIPAA, having concluded the New Jersey law provides sufficient protection, thank you very much.

Jeff [3:51 PM]

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