Holmes v. Nightingale, 2007 OK 15 (Okla. 2007)

This case concerns a dispute under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The issue was whether Plaintiff’s mental and physical condition were in issue by filing a malpractice suit and whether the trial court erred by allowing, but not requiring, ex parte oral communications with health care providers. On appeal the court held that such an order does not violate HIPAA. The court cited Bayne v. Provost, 359 F.Supp.2d 234 (N.D. N.Y. 2005) in finding “there is no bright line HIPAA rule barring all ex parte discussions. Rather, … such contacts are appropriate once the protections required by HIPAA are met.” The trial court’s order, however, was deficient because it was not limited to the medical information relevant to the claims in the case and had the potential to allow defense counsel to obtain all medical and psychological information on the patient even though it was irrelevant.

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