In Indiana, there are two statutes that govern the disclosure of medical records by medical providers. They are the Health Insurance and Portability Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Indiana Access to Health Care Records Statute (IAHCRS). The tort of disclosure, the act of a medical provider disclosing someone’s medical records unlawfully, is not recognized in Indiana. However, according to a recent case, someone may have a negligence claim if a medical provider releases someone’s medical records without their permission.
The Case: Henry v. Community Healthcare Sys. Community Hosp.
In this case, Amanda Henry received x-rays at Community Health. A few days after the x-rays, her boss showed her the x-rays on the boss’s phone. Henry later learned that the x-ray technician was the spouse of her boss. She sued Community Health due to the disclosure of her x-rays to her boss without her permission.
The trial court stated that Henry did not have a claim and granted judgement to Community Health, stating that the tort of disclosure was not recognized in Indiana. They also stated that there is no private right of action under either HIPPA or IAHCRS in Indiana.
On appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the tort of disclosure need not apply here, as Henry alleged enough to support a cause of negligence. Henry was filing a claim that there was a standard of care here, and that standard was not met. That is enough to support a cause of negligence, according to the court. Henry can then use HIPPA to determine what standard of care applies in a case such as this, and then apply that standard of care to the specific facts. The Appellate Court held that the Trial Court erred and sent the case back for further proceedings that were consistent with the Appellate Court’s decision.
How Does This Apply to Other Cases?
This can apply to other cases because HIPPA now creates a standard of care when dealing with patient’s medical records. If a healthcare provider releases medical records without the consent of a patient, then that patient may have a negligence claim depending on the standard of care as determined by HIPPA.
If a healthcare provider does in fact release the records without consent, there is now a way in Indiana to make a claim against that healthcare provider. Prior to this case, because the tort of disclosure was not and still is not recognized in Indiana, it would have been hard for someone to make a claim against a medical provider for disclosing their records without the patient’s consent.
However, a patient may now have a negligence claim against the healthcare provider if the healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care for the patient.
What Should I do if a Healthcare Provider has Released my Medical Records Without Consent?
If a healthcare provider has released your medical records without your consent, you need an experienced attorney who has dealt with claims of negligence. Here at Hurst Limontes LLC, our attorneys have years of experience dealing with negligence claims, and we also have years of experience dealing with claims against healthcare providers and hospitals. Email or Call our offices for a free consultation today!