[ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 ]
If The Horse Has Left The Barn . . . :
According to BNA
"A Georgia trial court erred in not considering whether the protected health
information of the deceased subject of a malpractice claim had already been made
public, a state appeals court ruled Oct. 10 (Austin v. Moreland, Ga. Ct. App.,
No. A07A1206; A071207, 10/10/07). The Georgia Court of Appeals, Fourth
Division, remanded the case to the trial court with orders to consider whether
the protected health information [PHI] of a deceased patient, Mr. Moreland (no
first name given), had already been disclosed. If it had, the trial court was
then charged with determining if that disclosure precluded restricting the PHI
in a malpractice action. "
A patient died and his estate sued one of his physicians. The physician wanted to get the patient's medical records from earlier treating physicians, and the estate resisted that disclosure. Perhaps the other information was already released, said the defendant, so it shouldn't be kept from the defense here. It seems like the defense would have a reason to get the information, since it seems to be part of plaintiff's case, or could be part of defendant's defense.
On remand, the lower court is also supposed to consider whether HIPAA applies and how. Seems like the lower court will have plenty of latitude to determine how HIPAA applies, since the lower court could order the info to be produced and HIPAA would allow its disclosure.
Jeff [5:38 PM]
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