Printer Friendly

HIPAA.

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is constitutional and provides fair notice and minimal guidelines to covered entities.

In the lawsuit, brought by the South Carolina Medical Association, the Physicians Care Network, and several individual doctors, the plaintiffs claimed that HIPAA violated constitutional rights because it was too vague in that it allows preemption of state laws that are more stringent, thus violating the Fifth Amendment right to due process. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that the preemption clause of the law forces healthcare providers to make subjective judgments about whether a state law applies that could result in fines or jail time if those judgments were incorrect. The plaintiffs further argued that the government had failed to provide fair notice or minimal guidelines for doctors and insurance companies to follow.

The government opined that, though the law does pass constitutional muster, it is far too early to bring a case to court. The challenge of vagueness cannot be determined, according to the defense, because HIPAA has not been applied in a situation that would permit a fair assessment of its provisions.

The court ruled in favor of the government. While the law will require some "commonsense evaluations" on the part of covered entities, this does not mean that the law is vague or unconstitutional. According to the written opinion of the case, "... the regulations are sufficiently definite to give fair warning as to what will be considered a more stringent state privacy law." (South Carolina Medical Association et al v. Tommy O. Thompson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, No. 02-2001, 2003)
COPYRIGHT 2003 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:U.S. Judicial Decisions
Author:Anderson, Teresa
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Words:283
Previous Article:Noncompete agreements.
Next Article:School security.
Topics:


Related Articles
BRIEFING JUDICIAL DECISIONS IN TAX PRACTICE: A LOST ART?
Federal Court Manual Questionnaires: an invaluable source of information for litigators in federal court.
11th-hour HIPAA: how can you meet the deadlines? (Countdown To HIPAA).
Subpoenas duces tecum vs. HIPAA: which wins?
Health insurance act affords privacy, but not private actions.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters