What’s New in Health Law

New Cases

HIPAA Doesn’t Govern

An Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a trial court’s dismissal of a breach of confidentiality claim brought by a patient against a hospital. The patient received medical treatment at the hospital that included radiographic imaging and days later, the patient’s employer showed her portions of those digital images; the patient later learned her employer was the spouse of the radiologic technician. In dismissing the claims, the trial court had reiterated the long-held precedent that HIPAA creates no private cause of action and then determined that the tort of wrongful disclosure was not recognized in Indiana. However, on appeal, the appellate court cited to the general concept that medical providers owe a duty of confidentiality to their patients. While the trial court focused on the lack of a state law claim for wrongful disclosure, the appellate court referenced the Hippocratic Oath and found that in modern times there has been a common law duty of confidentiality for medical providers. The appellate court found the patient’s complaint included the operative facts necessary to make a negligence-based claim against the hospital and reversed the trial court’s decision.

Henry v. Cmty. Healthcare Sys.

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Question of the Week

A few years ago, CMS proposed a rule that would have required hospitals to send a copy of the discharge instructions and the discharge summary to practitioners responsible for the patient’s follow-up care.  Specifically, the proposed rule attached a 48-hour deadline to this requirement, with an exception for pending test results (which would have been due within 24 hours after becoming available).  Was the 48-hour deadline ever finalized?

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