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Sunday, August 25, 2019

New Health Care Liability Action Opinion: Dismissal of Plaintiff's Case Reversed on Appeal

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its decision in Short ex rel. Short v. Metro Knoxville HMA, LLC, No. E2018-02292-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 23, 2019).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads as follows:
This appeal concerns healthcare liability. Carl Short (“Plaintiff”), widower of Allison Short (“Decedent”), filed suit in the Circuit Court for Knox County (“the Trial Court”) alleging negligence in his late wife’s medical treatment against a number of physicians (“Physician Defendants”) and Turkey Creek Medical Center (“the Hospital”) (“Defendants,” collectively). Defendants moved to dismiss on the basis of noncompliance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E), which requires that pre-suit notice include a HIPAA compliant medical authorization allowing the healthcare provider receiving the notice to obtain complete medical records from every other provider that is sent a notice.1 Plaintiff’s authorizations allowed each provider to disclose complete medical records to each named provider although it did not state specifically that each provider could request records from the other. The Trial Court held that Plaintiff’s authorizations failed to substantially comply with the statute’s requirements because of this failure to explicitly allow each provider to obtain records. Plaintiff appeals. We hold that Plaintiff’s method of permitting Defendants access to Decedent’s medical records substantially complied with Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). We reverse the judgment of the Trial Court.
Here is a link to the majority opinion:

Here is a link to the dissent:

NOTE: Look for the defendants to seek further review by the Tennessee Supreme Court via Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Also, as I have noted in previous posts, a healthcare provider does not need a HIPAA-compliant medical authorization to investigate a liability claim (see note on this post:

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