Bar Journal October 2014
Complete Bar Journal
Nowadays, medical records are maintained in electronic format, and the availability of electronic medical records presents new challenges and opportunities for discovery. The Oklahoma Discovery Code authorizes discovery of all information that is relevant to the subject matter of a pending action, provided that it is not privileged
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, originally enacted in 1996 to facilitate the continued health insurance coverage of individuals who moved between employers that provide health insurance. This original premise of HIPAA likely has faded in importance with passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that now includes a “guaranteed issue” provision which prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions, whether covered by health insurance in the past or not.
For decades, regulators and providers in the health care industry have actively sought to improve the health of the nation and to stretch both governmental and private health care dollars. Efforts to shift from inpatient-based care to an ambulatory model have been largely successful. Cost containment initiatives have gained significant momentum and have included, in addition to budgets cuts at state and federal levels, reimbursement controls by nongovernmental third-party payers and other incentives to ration services and products.1 There are also focused efforts to solve the troublesome issue of inequitable distribution of health care resources in Oklahoma and elsewhere in the nation by relying on prevention, physician extenders, practice models and increasingly advanced technology.2
Comprehensive health care reform, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare,” was initiated in March 2010 with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act1 (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.2 The enactment of the reform legislation has been and continues to be followed by the promulgation of thousands of pages of regulations by the executive agencies charged with the implementation of the statutes.3
If you are old enough (or cool enough), you will recall a great Bob Dylan song titled “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” The title, and even some of the lyrics,1 seem especially appropriate for this topic. The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (ACA),2 a spike in qui tam litigation and the proliferation of HIPAA3 class actions have all given rise to a host of new potential liability risks or potential claims, depending on your perspective. The purpose of this article is to discuss these emerging litigation issues.
It is well-established in common law and ethical codes that individuals have the right to decide what medical care and treatment they should receive, including the right to refuse care, which may expedite their demise.1 Modern medicine has the ability to extend life and prolong the moment of death long past the point at which a competent person would likely consent, but in most cases the person is no longer able to express his/her wishes.
Since 1996 the Spotlight Awards have been given annually to five women who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession and who have lighted the way for other women. The award was later renamed to honor 1996 OBA President Mona Salyer Lambird, who died in 1999, and as first woman to serve as OBA president, was one of the award’s first recipients. The award is sponsored by the OBA Women in Law Committee. Each year all previous winners nominate and select the current year’s recipients. A plaque bearing
Thursday, Oct. 16 • 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. Register online at www.okbar.org/members/cle
Jim Thorpe Event Center, 4040 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City
CLE + luncheon: $120; Luncheon only: $40. (Price goes up $25 beginning Oct. 10.)