Connecticut to Permit Damages for Unauthorized Disclosure of Medical Records
Connecticut has just joined the growing number of states that will permit damages for the unauthorized and negligent disclosure of confidential medical records. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous 6-0 decision on Tuesday that doctors and healthcare providers alike owe a duty to their patients to protect their medical records and keep them confidential. Previously, private suits seeking remedy for the harm caused by wrongful disclosures of a patient’s medical records was an unrecognized area of law in Connecticut, and was deemed to be blocked under the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
This suit initially began in 2007 when a plaintiff brought a claim against Avery Center for Obstetrics & Gynecology in Westport for the unauthorized disclosure of her medical file to the New Haven Children’s Probate Court in 2005. In a paternity dispute involving matters of custody, the child’s father subpoenaed the plaintiff’s (mother’s) medical records from Avery, and without informing the plaintiff of the subpoena and without filing a motion to quash the subpoena, Avery simply supplied the confidential records to the court. This file contained irrelevant and embarrassing personal information, which the father then used to harass and extort the plaintiff during the dispute. The mother (plaintiff) fought a seemingly endless uphill battle in this case. After an initial appeal, a dismissal from the Superior Court of Bridgeport, and a second appeal, Connecticut will now recognizes a common law privilege for confidential communications and medical records between physicians and patients. The Supreme Court’s official opinion drafted by Justice Dennis Eveleigh will be released on January 16, 2018.
If you have been hurt by a medical care provider, such as by disclosure of your records or some other form of medical malpractice call us. We can help.