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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 12922
Experience:  Attorney with significant personal injury experience
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I was going to a "boutique" doctor and paying m $1,500 a

Customer Question

I was going to a "boutique" doctor and paying him $1,500 a year for his fine services. I was very happy with him until something occurred. A busy body from my church called his office and told his nurse that she thought I was over medicated. This was not true. His nurse then passed the information on to Dr. Born. At my next appointment Dr. Born released me from his care telling me that he had heard from someone at my church and that I was a "liability". He would not tell me what liability meant. I was very upset and I am now without a primary physician. A good one is hard to find. Was this call from the lady at church a breach of the HIPPA law?
Brenda West
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.


Hello and welcome. This is understandably a frustrating situation. However, HIPAA only protects medical providers from sharing protected health information. It has no applicability to non-medical providers who call medical offices to share their observations about a patient. HIPAA does not come into play at all in that situation.

Likewise, I'm afraid there is nothing illegal about a physician releasing a patient based on a false report that they were overmedicated or a "liability." Physicians, like other professionals, are free to determine who they work with. The only exception for physicians applies in certain emergency circumstances which do not exist based on the facts you have described.

Defamation is a potential cause of action you could allege against the employee who made this false report. However, such a claim would likely fail on the ground that she was sharing her opinion, not an objective "fact" about you. Opinions are not actionable on a defamation theory because, by definition they are subjective and thus not provably "true" or "false." Still, to prevent this person from making similar complaints about you in the future, a cease and desist letter threatening a defamation lawsuit might be effective. The most effective tool moving forward, though, would be to ensure that nobody from your church knows who your doctor is--that way they can't intermeddle in your affairs.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Hello again,

I just wanted to followup with you to make sure that you did not have any further questions or concerns. For some unknown reason, the experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get credit for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not yet received either. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the site administrator.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed.

Very best wishes.