The Court of Appeals of Georgia agreed with arguments advanced by AGG Healthcare partner Jason Bring in an amicus (friend of the court) brief filed on behalf of Georgia’s three largest healthcare associations: the Georgia Hospital Association, the Georgia Health Care Association, and the Medical Association of Georgia.
The appeal challenged a trial court order barring a hospital’s attorneys from meeting with its own employed physician as part of the hospital’s defense of a patient lawsuit. The trial court ruled that HIPAA prevented the hospital’s attorneys from meeting with the physician without the patient’s attorneys also being present. The Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that “[u]nder HIPAA, a provider has access to its own records, and it may provide protected health information about a patient to other doctors within the organization in order to ‘conduct’ or ‘arrange for’ legal services.” Therefore, any conversations between the hospital’s employed physician and their attorney did not qualify as a prohibited disclosure under HIPAA because those conversations did not result in the release of protected health information outside of the hospital organization.
To read the court’s order, please click here. If you have questions about the opinion or about these issues in general, please contact Jason.