Sunday, September 24, 2006

HIPAA: Nebraska Case Looks at No Private Cause of Action Issue

Jeff Drummond at the HIPAA Blog, provides details on a Nebraska case finding that there was no private cause of action for damages under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

In Diering v. Regional West Medical Center, 7:06CV5010 (Sept 15, 2006), the Nebraska District Court citing various other decisions found that HIPAA does not provide a private right of action. The case involved an ER Director who informed an employer who was considering hiring a phyisician about the physician's voluntary drug/alcohol treatment.

Like Jeff I have represented a number of health care clients who have been threatened with or had claims asserted against them for violating HIPAA. Most claims have utilized the HIPAA requirements to bolster claims for breach of confidentiality and privacy rights under West Virginia law. I've not seen a pure HIPAA based complaint or demand letter. It will be interesting to watch this area of law develop and mature. It's good to see a summary of cases on this point that I can use the next time this issue comes up.

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