[ Thursday, September 29, 2005 ]


Hospital Sued for Release of Medical Records: University of Missouri's University Hospital in Columbia has been sued in a potential class-action suit on behalf of 800 University Hospital patients whose medical information was provided to a home health company operating under the name Option Care. Apparently, a gastroenterologist at the hospital left to open a private practice in 2004, and the hospital did not want the physician to remove the patients from the hospital's disease management program. The hospital disclosed the information on a group of liver patients with hepatatis to Option Care, and a nurse from Option Care called the patients, ostensibly to ensure that the patients continued to receive treatment (presumably from the hospital, of course).

Was the disclosure for treatment purposes, or for marketing purposes? That may be the HIPAA bone of contention, but remember, HIPAA does not contain a private cause of action, so this lawsuit isn't specifically about HIPAA. Rather, this lawsuit is couched as a suit about breach of the doctor-patient relationship. It will be interesting to see how this proceeds.

Jeff [10:09 AM]

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