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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Tennessee Supreme Court Holds That a HIPAA-compliant Medical Authorization Is Not Required to Be Sent When Only One Defendant Is Being Sent Presuit Notice of a Potential Claim

The Tennessee Supreme Court released its opinion today in Bray v. Khuri, No. W2015-00397-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Jul. 5, 2017).  The syllabus from the slip opinion states as follows:
Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a)(2)(E) requires a person who asserts a potential claim for healthcare liability to include with pre-suit notice a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization permitting the healthcare provider who receives the notice to obtain complete medical records “from each other provider being sent the notice.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). Here, the plaintiff sent pre-suit notice of her claim to a single healthcare provider and included a medical authorization. After the plaintiff filed suit, the defendant healthcare provider moved to dismiss, asserting the plaintiff had failed to provide a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization. The trial court granted the motion, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. We hold that a prospective plaintiff who provides pre-suit notice to one potential defendant is not required under Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121(a)(2)(E) to provide the single potential defendant with a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization. We reverse the judgments of the trial court and the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings. 
(Footnote omitted.)

Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This decision is correct and a commonsense construction of Tenn. Code Ann. sec. 29-26-121(a)(2)(E).  My hat's off to the Tennessee Supreme Court for this decision.

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