[ Thursday, February 25, 2016 ]


Jason Pierre-Paul: On July 4 of last year, NY Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered a fireworks accident and lost his right index finger.  Adam Schefter, an NFL reporter for ESPN, tweeted a picture of Pierre-Paul's medical records showing the finger had been amputated.  I tweeted about it here, questioning how Schefter got the medical records, which likely only came to him by virtue of a HIPAA breach (unless Pierre-Paul gave them to Schefter directly).  I also noted Peyton Manning's HIPAA issues, and my all-time favorite HIPAA quote: "I don't know what HIPAA stands for, but I believe in it and I practice it."

Now, Pierre-Paul has sued Adam Schefter and ESPN for breaching his privacy by publishing his medical records.  Several very interesting points: First, the damages claim is $15,000.  Seems like he'd ask for more; I sure would.  Although the hospital has already paid a settlement in the matter, which might be credited against the damages he got (if anything) from ESPN.  Second, it's a suit under Florida law, not HIPAA, which makes sense, since neither ESPN nor Schefter are covered entities under HIPAA, and it's unclear whether the Florida statute will work against anyone other than healthcare workers.  Third, while the medical record itself might be confidential, it's possible that the underlying information might not be.  The NFL requires teams to report on the health of players on a weekly basis during the season, including stating whether the player is ready to play, questionable, doubtful, or out for next week's game (compare with the NFL, where teams say little if anything, and often lie: during the 1999 Stanley Cup finals, Brett Hull had a sprained MCL and 2 torn groin muscles, but was described as having "flu-like symptoms").  Finally, why now?  It's mainly water under the bridge, the hospital already settled, and it's only $15,000.  

Jeff [3:08 PM]

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