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Bill Roberts Quoted in CT Law Tribune Article, "Conn. Medical Records Ruling Could Have Widespread Impact"

Court permits negligence claims over release of medical records

Connecticut Law Tribune

November 14, 2014

William Roberts, a member of Shipman & Goodwin's health law practice group and life sciences and medical products client team, said the decision will have ripples beyond the health care industry.

In 2013, the enactment of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) brought business associates of health care providers and employees of health insurance companies under HIPAA. The law not only covers the unauthorized distribution of paper records but the accidental release of digital records in a data breach situation.

"It often applies to law firms, consultants, accountants and others who provide services to health care providers and health plans," said Roberts. "The release of records in violation of HIPAA by any of these entities may also now be the basis for a negligence claim."

Roberts said federal agencies have rarely handed out fines or penalties for HIPAA violations. The Connecticut court opinion, he said, "greatly increases the potential liability" for health care providers.

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