Federal Judge Dismisses Case Alleging HIPAA Privacy Regulations Violate Constitutional Rights
A federal judge last Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and three patients charging that privacy regulations under HIPAA "violate constitutional rights by requiring physicians to allow government access to records without patient consent," the Houston Chronicle reports (Ruiz, Houston Chronicle, 6/18). The suit, filed against HHS last August, alleges that the privacy regulations violate the First, Fourth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Paperwork Reduction Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (California Healthline, 1/4). U.S. District Judge Sim Lake said that the plaintiffs had not suffered "imminent injury through enforcement of the privacy rule" and "lacked standing to pursue the claims." The regulations require health care providers to obtain written consent from patients in most cases before "using or disclosing certain medical information" and make records available so that HHS can evaluate compliance with the law. Attorney Karen Bryant Tripp, who represents the plaintiffs, said they would appeal (Houston Chronicle, 6/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.