Friday, June 24, 2011

Negligence Lawsuits on Patient Data Privacy Breaches Rely on HIPAA to Establish Standard of Care

Recent court decisions held that HIPAA may form a basis of a state law “negligence per se” claim, even though HIPAA does not create a private right of action, under federal law.

The court refused to dismiss plaintiff’s claim for negligence per se, despite its reliance on HIPAA in the case of I.S. v. Washington University, E.D. Mo.
"The risks of such private causes of action are only expected to increase ... healthcare providers must ensure strict compliance in order to avoid not only regulatory enforcement but also individual lawsuits." - McGuireWoods legal practice blog
The Washington University case is not the first such case. The North Carolina Court of Appeals allowed a plaintiff to make an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against a psychiatrist by relying on HIPAA. In that case, a psychiatrist's office manager accessed the patient's medical records to cause harm to the patient.
Download a white paper on medical records privacy breach detection as a service. Learn how an on-demand, pay-per-use service can cost effectively address the HIPAA/HITECH privacy and security rules - with no hardware and no on-site software.
Sources:
(a) HIPAA May Provide Basis for State Law Private Cause of Action - McGuireWoods legal practice blog, June 23, 2011


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