The Georgia Supreme Court recently held that with regard to ex parte communications between defense counsel and a plaintiff’s prior treating physicians, defense counsel must follow the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s standards to provide notice and the opportunity to object before proceeding. Austin et al. v. Moreland et al., 2008 WL 4762052. The Court concluded that because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) affords patients more control over their medical records when it comes to informal contacts between litigants and physicians than the protections afforded under Georgia law, the standards of the Privacy rule apply. The Supreme Court’s decision reverses an earlier decision of the Georgia Court of Appeals.
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