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Breach of Duty of Confidentiality
The Supreme Court of Connecticut reversed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a women’s health clinic in a suit filed by a patient, recognizing a cause of action for the breach of the duty of confidentiality in the physician-patient relationship, concluding that the disclosure of medical information was not barred by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) or any other federal law. After receiving a subpoena instructing the clinic to produce “all medical records” pertaining to the patient, rather than alerting the patient, filing a motion to quash, or appearing before the requesting court, the clinic mailed a copy of the patient’s medical file to the court. As a result, the patient suffered harassment and extortion threats from her former partner’s ability to view her medical records. The lower court had granted summary judgment on the patient’s negligence claim, reasoning that HIPAA preempted any action dealing with confidentiality or privacy of medical information.
Byrne v. Avery Ctr. for Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C.
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Question of the Week
Our Active Staff category requires members to take emergency call. In many specialties, we struggle with finding physicians willing to take their fair share of call. In orthopedics, however, we have a group based primarily at another hospital outside our system who own their own diagnostic facilities, to which they end up referring many patients from our ED for services we can provide. A few patients have expressed concerns about why they were sent to another facility. A few patients have reported that the orthopedic surgeon said the other facility was much better and newer, with no wait time. What can we do?
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