Wednesday, July 27, 2005

GA law: OCGA relating to Med Auths PREEMPTED by HIPAA

Find the Order here.You must have Adobe or other PDF viewer to open. I have news for you, this statute may be foisted upon all injury cases, see below.

The statute:
Medical Authorization Form Required in Medical Malpractice Actions O.C.G.A.

The statute was enacted under the Georgia Tort Reform Act to assist defendants in medical malpractice actions in obtaining the medical records of the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s decedent. A chronic problem in lawsuits, according to insurers and their attorneys they claim is obtaining the medical records of the plaintiff who has brought suit.

With the enactment of the federal HIPPA regulations, obtaining those medical records has become even more challenging. SB3 was to address this problem under this new statute requiring that the plaintiff must file a “medical authorization form” contemporaneously with the filing of the complaint to provide that the attorney representing the defendant is authorized to obtain and disclose protected health information contained in medical records to assist in the investigation, evaluation and defense of the claims in the complaint.

The authorization does not only allow defendants to obtain the medical records, but specifically allows the defendant’s attorney to discuss the care and treatment of the plaintiff with all of the treating physicians. Failure to file the medical authorization form with the complaint subjects the complaint to dismissal.

This new statute is only applicable in medical malpractice claims. A new bill has been proposed in the Georgia House, HB575, which would require the same medical authorization in regard to all wrongful death or personal injury actions, regardless of whether they are medical malpractice actions or not. HB575 will likely be considered during the 2006 Georgia legislative session.