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PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

In 1974 the California Constitution was amended to declare privacy to be an inalienable right.

Privacy of Medical Records: Many statutes, both State and Federal, affect the privacy rights of patients.

Federal: The Administrative Simplification provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) called for the establishment of standards and requirements for transmitting certain health information to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system while protecting patient privacy. The Administrative Simplification Regulations have been developed to implement these statutory provisions. (HIPAA)

California: See California state government list and PrivacyRights.org's list

Privacy Rights in Discovery: In Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20 Cal. 3d 844, the Supreme Court ruled that although the plaintiffs waived their physician-patient confidential communication privilege (Evid.Code, § 990 et seq.) and their psychotherapist-patient confidential communication privilege (Evid.Code, § 1010 et seq.) as to the medical, emotional, and mental conditions placed by them in issue in the case, and information regarding such conditions was therefore discoverable, all medical privacy was not waived.  In Allison v. WCAB (1999) 72 Cal. App. 4th 654, the Court of Appeal concluded, "WCJs have authority to hear discovery disputes and make orders respecting the same. It is within their sound discretion to determine if a discovery dispute is appropriate for a hearing."

See, too, Discovery

Label Item Links Comments
Labor Code §3762: "An insurer, third-party administrator retained by a self-insured employer pursuant to Section 3702.1 to administer the employer's workers' compensation claims, and those employees and agents specified by a self-insured employer to administer the employer's workers' compensation claims, are prohibited from disclosing or causing to be disclosed to an employer, any medical information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 56.05 of the Civil Code, about an employee who has filed a workers' compensation claim, except as follows:
   (1) Medical information limited to the diagnosis of the mental or physical condition for which workers' compensation is claimed and the treatment provided for this condition.
   (2) Medical information regarding the injury for which workers' compensation is claimed that is necessary for the employer to have in order for the employer to modify the employee's work duties."
LC §3762  
Civil Code §§56-56.07: Confidentiality of Medical
Information Act (CMIA)
CMIA  
Federal Law Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules HIPAA Rules

Statute
 
Regulations/Rules  
Forms    
Websites Ca.gov eHealth Privacy 360

Health Information Privacy

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

California Medical Privacy

Right to Privacy (Discovery)
eHealth

HIPAA

Medical Privacy FAQ

Cal. Med Privacy

Right to Privacy
 
Cases Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20 Cal. 3d 844: "[I]t has been clear for over two decades that the First Amendment provides substantial protection of an individual's interest in associational privacy and that it places severe restrictions on state-compelled disclosure of private affiliations and activities. The present decision simply recognizes that these firmly established constitutional precepts cannot be ignored merely because the issue of compelled disclosure arises in the context of litigation discovery; in this realm, as in all others, such disclosure of confidential associational affiliations and...activities must be justified by a compelling state interest and must be precisely tailored to avoid undue infringement of constitutional rights."

Allison v. WCAB (1999) 72 Cal. App. 4th 654:The Court of Appeal relied on Hardesty v. McCord & Holdren, Inc. (1976) 41 CCC 111, Britt (above) and Labor Code §5310.
Britt v. Superior Court















Allison v. WCAB
 
Practice Tips   
Articles

Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) & Related Issues in Discovery: handout from DWC 20th annual educational conference 2/13

California: The Right to Discovery vs. Privacy and Privilege

Medical Records Access & Medical Privacy in California

Invasion of Privacy

 

Right to Discovery vs. Privacy and Privilege

healthconsumer.org

 
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