Health care providers have a duty under both federal and Florida law to protect your medical information. But what happens when they don’t?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides a way for people who have had their private medical records unlawfully disclosed by a covered health care provider. Complaints can be filed here: https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/smartscreen/main.jsf. Once a complaint is received, the Office of Civil Rights will review the HIPAA claim and attempt to resolve it with the provider. If the HIPAA claim is proven, the provider may even be assessed a civil money penalty.
Unfortunately, any penalties collected stay with the government – the person who was damaged by the breach does not recover anything at all. What can you do if you have been monetarily damaged by this breach?
Florida Courts have held that a patient has a right to privacy in their medical records. If a health care provider fails to adequately take steps to protect them, they have breached a duty owed to the patient and the patient can recover damages See e.g. Florida Dept. of Corr. V. Abril, 969 So. 2d 201, 206 (Fla. 2007) (“[T]his Court has consistently and rigorously enforced the rights of patients to confidentiality in their medical records. In view of these multiple sources of a duty of confidentiality and privacy,” a health care facility has a duty to maintain their confidentiality.).
Thus, if you have suffered damages due to a breach of your private medical records, you may be entitled to damages.
If you have had your private, confidential medical records disclosed by a health care provider, you should contact an attorney at Smith & Associates to discuss your rights and remedies.