[ Friday, January 30, 2009 ]


Detroit Receiving Hospital: An interesting medical record access case is brewing in Detroit. A patient in a psych unit died, and a federally-funded state-appointed advocacy group has sued for access to peer review and other records. The hospital refused, citing privacy restrictions. Apparently, the hospital has already provided the records to state regulators. I guess it will depend on whether the advocacy group has the power of the state behind them; disclosures that are required by law, such as those to a State Department of Health or similar agency with oversight of hospitals, are allowed under HIPAA.

The hospital claims that there is no state law that compells the disclosure of the records to the advocacy group. The advocacy group claims that their federal funding means that federal law applies, and that federal law requires the disclosure. But HIPAA explicitly holds that state laws that are more protective of privacy are not preempted by HIPAA. If Michigan law allows the hospital not to disclose, will that law override the federal law the advocacy group is relying upon?

Jeff [11:53 AM]

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