Articles Posted in Health Law

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Dr. Benjamin Reid, a licensed general surgeon, filed a complaint against KentuckyOne Health, Inc. (“Hospital”) alleging various claims arising from the Hospital’s review of Reid’s surgical privileges at the Hospital. The circuit court granted the Hospital’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Reid failed to rebut the presumption that the Hospital was immune under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 because the Hospital’s conduct with respect to Reid was related to its professional review activities. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Hospital had taken a “professional review action” against Reid rather than a “professional review activity.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a factual dispute existed as to whether the Hospital’s actions were merely “professional review activities” that would be entitled to immunity under the Act or whether they were “professional review actions,” and (2) therefore, the record was insufficient on the immunity question under the Act. View "KentuckyOne Health, Inc. v. Reid" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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The Council on Developmental Disabilities, Inc. filed a request with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services seeking information about the death of Gary Farris, a ward of the Commonwealth who was transferred from an institution to a community residence shortly before his death. The Cabinet denied the Council’s request, concluding that the records were confidential under Ky. Rev. Stat. 209.140 and that the Council did not qualify as an organization exempt from the confidentiality restrictions in that statute. The trial court upheld the denial. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Council was not entitled to the requested information under either the Kentucky Open Records Act or section 209.140(3). View "Council on Developmental Disabilities, Inc. v. Cabinet for Health & Human Servs." on Justia Law

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Each of these three consolidated cases originated with the filing of an action in the circuit court asserting claims against nursing home facilities for personal injuries suffered by a nursing home resident, violations of Ky. Rev. Stat. 216.510 et seq., and for wrongful death of the resident. At the time of each resident’s admission to the nursing home, the resident’s attorney-in-fact executed a written document providing that disputes arising out of the relationship between the resident and the nursing home would be submitted to arbitration. When each case was commenced, the defendant nursing home moved the circuit court to compel the parties to submit the claims to a formal arbitration proceeding. The circuit court denied the motion in each case, concluding that the respective power-of-attorney instruments did not authorize the resident’s attorney-in-fact to waive the resident’s right to access to the courts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) without a clear and convincing manifestation of the principal’s intention to do so, delegation to an agent of the authority to waive a trial by jury is not authorized, and the principal’s assent to the waiver is not validly obtained; and (2) the arbitration agreements in these cases were never validly formed. View "Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Richmond Health Facilities-Madison, LP (Richmond Health) and Extendicare, Inc. (Extendicare) alleging wrongful death, nursing-home abuse, and corporate negligence. During discovery, Plaintiff sought the production of documents relating to Richmond Health’s clinical monitoring and oversight and well as documents dealing with corporate finance matters alleged to indicate Extendicare’s negligence in funding Richmond Health. When Richmond Health and Extendicare rejected Plaintiff’s requests, the trial court ordered the co-defendants to produce the documents. The co-defendants separately sought prohibitive writs from the court of appeals, arguing that the documents were privileged and that their financial information was irrelevant. The court of appeals denied the writ petitions. The Supreme Court also affirmed the court of appeals and denied the issuance of a writ, holding that the petitions did not meet the Court’s writ standard and would be nothing more than advisory. View "Richmond Health Facilities-Madison, LP v. Madison Circuit Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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When a mentally disabled man who had been in the care of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services died, the Council on Developmental Disabilities, Inc. filed a request with the Cabinet under the Kentucky Open Records Act seeking information about the man’s death. The Cabinet denied the Council’s request on the grounds that the records were confidential under Ky. Rev. Stat. 209.140 and that the Council, a nonprofit corporation that advocates generally for “children and adults with mental retardation and their families and other interested persons in the community,” did not qualify as an organization exempt from the confidentiality restrictions in that statute. The Council filed suit in circuit court seeking an order requiring the Cabinet to disclose the requested records. The trial court denied the request, concluding that the Council had failed to demonstrate that it had a legitimate interest in the records sought. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Council was not entitled to the information requested under the Act or section 209.140(3). View "Council on Dev. Disabilities, Inc. v. Cabinet for Health & Family Servs." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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Plaintiff, the administrate of the estate of Lula Belle Gordon, filed suit against several nursing home entities (collectively, “Kindred”), alleging that Kindred violated several provisions of Ky. Rev. Stat. 216.515 in its treatment and care of Gordon, resulting in her injury and death. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. The Court of Appeals reversed and ordered the dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims, concluding that Plaintiff’s claims were incident to a common law personal injury action and therefore subject to the one-year limitations period provided by Ky. Rev. Stat. 413.140. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff’s claim under section 216.515(6) did not assert a claim for relief based upon a liability created by the statute because the claim simply represented a codification in the nursing home context of the common law personal injury cause of action and was, therefore, subject to a the one-year limitation period otherwise provided for personal injury actions; and (2) other causes of action based upon provisions of section 216.515, for which Plaintiff sought redress, were subject to the five-year limitations period established by section 413.120, but those causes of action must be brought during the lifetime of the resident by the resident or her guardian. View "Overstreet v. Kindred Nursing Ctrs. Ltd. P’ship" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Injury Law

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Plaintiff in the underlying medical malpractice action sought a writ of prohibition to prevent the trial court from enforcing its order permitting counsel for the defendant in the underlying action (Dr. Castro) to contact Plaintiff’s treating physicians ex parte. The Court of Appeals declined to issue a writ, finding (1) no Kentucky law prohibits the trial court from authorizing ex parte correspondence with nonexpert treating physicians, and (2) the trial court’s order did not violate any right Plaintiff had to privacy of her medical information because the order did not compel any disclosure. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) HIPAA does not prohibit ex parte interviews with treating physicians but does regulate the protected health information to be disclose in ex parte interviews; (2) Kentucky law places no restrictions on voluntary ex parte interviews with non expert treating physicians; and (3) the challenged order at issue in this case did not satisfy HIPPA procedural requirements for the disclosure of protected health information, but because the order expressly withheld the necessary authorization, a writ need not issue. View "Caldwell v. Hon. A.C. McKay Chauvin" on Justia Law

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Appellant pleaded guilty to robbery, burglary, and tampering with physical evidence. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Appellant agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of her co-defendant. The co-defendant filed a motion for an in camera review of Appellant’s psychotherapy records from all previous health providers, arguing that the records were relevant as to Appellant’s credibility. The circuit court entered an order and an amended order requiring Appellant’s counsel to immediately disclose the contact information of every mental health professional that had provided mental health services to Appellant since January 1, 2000. Appellant petitioned the Court of Appeals for a writ to preclude enforcement of the two discovery orders. The Court of Appeals denied the petition. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals, granted the writ, and vacated the trial court’s discovery orders with the exception of the orders regarding records from two mental health services identified as having potentially exculpatory records, holding that the breadth of the trial court’s orders exceeded the bounds permitted by Commonwealth v. Barroso. View "White v. Hon. Barry Willett" on Justia Law

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Billy Jo Ries gave birth to a daughter who, due to the loss of approximately one-third of her blood during delivery, suffered multiple organ failure and brain damage. The Rieses filed suit against the hospital, the physician who delivered their daughter, and the neonatologist who treated their daughter after her birth, alleging medical negligence. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of the defendants. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence testimony from an expert that was not scientifically reliable under the Daubert standard. The physician appealed, arguing that the court of appeals impermissibly substituted its findings for the trial court’s findings regarding the reliability of the expert testimony and erroneously determined that the error required reversal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court did not err in admitting the expert testimony, and if there was error, it was harmless. View "Oliphant v. Ries" on Justia Law

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Luvetta Goff died as a result of complications from elective surgery performed by Appellants at the University of Kentucky Hospital (UK Hospital). Goff’s estate filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice action against Appellants. During discovery, the estate requested an “incident” or “event” report generated by a UK Hospital nurse concerning the surgery through the UK Healthcare Safety Evaluation System. Appellant sought a protective order concerning the report, arguing that it fell within the federal privilege created by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. The court of appeals granted Appellants the writ. The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals regarding the scope of the privilege under the Act, holding (1) the court of appeals was misguided in its ultimate limitations on the scope of the privilege; and (2) information normally contained in an incident report is not privileged under the Act and may be discovered, following an in camera review, and its information compelled. Remanded. View "Tibbs v. Circuit Court" on Justia Law