[ Wednesday, August 08, 2007 ]
Anna Nicole Smith and HIPAA:
Actually, that's a good headline
. It seems that in 1994, a Houston surgeon operated on Anna Nicole Smith and videotaped the operation (apparently she had some cosmetic surgery). He says he had her permission and agreed to maintain the confidentiality of the tape "during her lifetime," which apparently has ended (I guess I missed that on the news; must've been in a coma or something). He apparently gave the tape to a Los Angeles memorabilia dealer with instructions to sell it, with the sales proceeds to be split between the doctor's wife and the dealer. The doctor has surrendered his license and is no longer practicing as a doctor, which would seem to take him outside the reach of HIPAA: he's not a "provider," so he's not a "covered entity." The Texas Medical Board says since he's surrendered his license, they can't do anything about him (although there's a rule of the Texas Medical Board requiring licensed doctors to notify the patient where their medical records are going, and either maintain them or send them somewhere safe, when they leave a practice).
But fear not, Howard K. Stern, the executor of Ms. Smith's estate, has obtained a temporary restraining order preventing any further release of the tape. The estate is located in California, which has a "celebrity protection law" (natch), and that's where they sued for the injunction. I think I speak for all of us in hoping the temporary injunction is made permanent (and quietly, with as little press as possible -- I really don't want to think about this).
Hat tips: Christina Solis, Barbara Zabawa. And, apparently, this guy
has been all over the story.
Jeff [3:56 PM]
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