[ Wednesday, August 29, 2007 ]
Charge the Lawyers More: According to BNA
(subscription required), even though HIPAA limits the amount a covered entity can charge an individual for copies of his/her medical records (a reasonable cost-based fee that doesn't account for employees or recordkeeping systems), it does not limit the amount an entity can charge to the individual's lawyers or other parties seeking the same records on behalf of the individual. The case, Webb v. Smart Document Solutions, 9th Cir., No. 05-56282, 8/27/07, was in the 9th Federal Circuit and came out of a California Federal District Court.
Interestingly (OK, perhaps "interesting" only if you're a lawyer), the court spent relatively little time reaching that conclusion (which seems pretty clear from the HIPAA regulations). Most of their time spent was trying to determine if they could even decide a HIPAA case, since there's no private cause of action under HIPAA! Ultimately, they decided that, because they had jurisdiction due to the diversity of the parties, and because the plaintiff had also pled a California statute on unjust compensation, they could address the issue.
Jeff [11:51 AM]
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