LEGAL CHALLENGES TO FLORIDA'S NEW EX-PARTE MEDICAL BILL

A press release was just issued from the Florida Justice Association (FJA) announcing that attorneys from around the state have joined together to file legal challenges to the constitutionality of “ex parte communications” authorized by Florida Senate Bill 1792. According to the FJA press release the complaints challenge the new law claiming that it is in violation of the right of privacy as guaranteed by the Florida Constitution, as well as in violation of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

The challenge arises from Florida Governor Rick Scott’s decision to sign Senate Bill 1792 in law, which allows for “ex parte communications” in medical negligence cases. SB 1792 would effectively divulge private conversations about a patient’s medical condition between defense attorneys and a patient’s nonparty, treating physician without the patient or the patient’s attorney present.

SB 1792 was heavily lobbied by insurance groups within the State of Florida, and is due to become law on July 1, 2013. The biggest challenges are being raised on the fear that the Florida Legislature is allowing doctors to divulge their patients’ personal and private medical history to strangers without any knowledge or consent by the patient and the unknown of what might happen or how the sensitive information may be used. This type of invasion of privacy could hurt all personal injury victims.

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