As a business associate to hundreds of healthcare clients, our firm is acutely aware of the enormous challenges the HIPAA Privacy Rule presents. In the malpractice litigation arena, patient limited authorizations, ex parte meetings with treating physicians, and physician witness testimony at trial often involve complex HIPAA Privacy Rule issues.
Because of the extensive medical malpractice litigation conducted by the firm, our attorneys have developed a unique expertise in providing consultation regarding HIPAA Privacy Rule requirements. In addition, our attorneys have developed notices of privacy practices and acknowledgment forms, polices and procedures, and authorization forms for providers and health plans, whether they are organized healthcare arrangements (OHCA) or designate themselves as affiliated covered entities (ACE) or hybrids. We have also helped clients address multi-organization peer review processes where patient care and outcome information is needed.
As HIPAA defers to more stringent state law protecting patient confidentiality, state law, which is often more stringent than HIPAA itself in protecting patient information, has become even more important to providers. The firm has been involved in addressing difficult state law confidentiality issues for years. Use of patient information for personal purposes, revelations of murders and other serious crimes in the course of the provider-patient relationship, Tarasoff-type threats toward third parties, refusal of patients to warn life partners of their contagious diseases, and commercial drivers with substance abuse or mental problems are just a few of the many kinds of difficult confidential information access and disclosure issues we have handled through the years. These situations involve a thorough understanding of the law--federal as well as state--and a pragmatic approach that the Kitch firm can effectively provide.