[ Thursday, November 05, 2009 ]


Interesting Georgia personal representative decision: Well, interesting if you're a HIPAA geek. The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that a spouse of a deceased person is that person's "personal representative" for HIPAA purposes. It seems the complicating factor in Alvista Healthcare Center v. Miller was the fact that the information was being sought by the surviving wife who was pursuing a wrongful death action on her own behalf against the nursing home, and no executor of the estate of the deceased husband had been appointed yet. The court found no problem with the wife obtaining the records in her capacity as personal representative of her deceased husband and then using the information in connection with her personal cause of action for wrongful death; since she's not a covered entity, the nature of her intended use is irrelevant if she has authority to obtain the information in one capacity or another.

Via BNA. Story here, opinion here (may need a subscription).

Jeff [10:19 AM]

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