HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Employer Liability for Privacy Torts

It's been almost a year since the publication of the HIPAAA Omnibus Rule. Since then then the regulatory mavens have been quiet. And that's not surprising. Solutions for our contemporary health privacy challenges such as big data and information collected by mobile apps generally lie outside the scope of HIPAA. In the interim some state courts have been showing surprising vitality in filling HIPAA’s remedial gap, the absence of a private right of action.

In Walgreen Co. v. Hinchy, 2014 WL 6130795 (Ind. Ct. App.), Withers, the defendant's employee-pharmacist, viewed the prescription records of the plaintiff-customer. Withers then divulged the information she learned from those records (including that the plaintiff had failed to fill her oral contraception prescription) to her husband, the customer’s ex-boyfriend and the father of the plaintiff’s child. Plaintiff brought breach of privacy claims agains the pharmacist and alleged both vicarious liability and direct negligence against the employer pharmacy chain. The jury returned a verdict for $1.8 million.

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December 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Published This Week

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Guest Blogger Professor Rebecca Dresser: The Value of Role Reversal

DresserNot so long ago, medical researchers had a habit of using themselves as guinea pigs. Many scientists saw self-experimentation as the most ethical way to try out their ideas. By going first, researchers could test their hypotheses and see how novel interventions affected human beings. In his book Who Goes First? Lawrence Altman reports that my own institution, Washington University, was nicknamed the “Kamikaze School of Medicine” because of its self-experimentation tradition.

Today we rely on a more systematic process to decide when to begin human testing, with experts and ethicists evaluating when a trial is justified. But a modified version of self-experimentation still makes sense.

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December 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Published This Week

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Guest Blogger Professor Rebecca Dresser: Inclusive Research Oversight

DresserProfessionals like researchers, doctors, ethicists, and lawyers are largely responsible for the regulations and ethical guidelines that govern human subject research. Nearly everyone appointed to the groups that develop and apply research ethics standards is a professional. Although ordinary citizens are sometimes included in research ethics deliberations, they play a minor role.

Most surprising, and to me, disturbing, is the omission of people who know what it is like to be a research subject. Few people with direct experience as subjects have been involved in the creation and application of human research rules and guidelines. I believe their exclusion has deprived the oversight system of morally relevant information.

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December 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thank You to November's Guest Bloggers

HealthLawProf Blog would like to thank our wonderful November guest bloggers, Professor Jean Macchiaroli EggenAssistant Professor Marc D. GinsbergAssociate Dean and Professor of Law Joan H. KrauseProfessor Maya Manian, and Assistant Professor Jessica L. Roberts. Here is a short recap of their posts:

Professor Jean Macchiaroli Eggen posted the following: Is Nanotech the Next Asbestos?, Low-Level Exposures to Chemicals in Drinking Water: Are They Actionable?, In Honor of Veterans Day: Resolving the Complex Legal Issues of the Iraq and Afghanistan Burn Pit Litigation, and Will the Neuroscience Revolution Change Tort Law?: Some Thoughts on the Mental Disabilities* Rule in Negligence Law.

Assistant Professor Marc D. Gnsberg posted the following: The Locality Rule And A National Standard Of Care, Enforceability of Voluntary Binding Arbitration of Medical Negligence Claims, Admissibility of Forensic Autopsy Reports in Homicide Prosecutions, and Informed Consent.

Associate Dean and Professor of Law Joan H. Krause posted the following: United States v. Nayak: The Application of Honest Services Mail and Wire Fraud to the Health Care Industry (Part I), United States v. Nayak: The Application of Honest Services Mail and Wire Fraud to the Health Care Industry (Part II), The Complicated Relationship Between Integration and Health Care Fraud, and The Right to Try Meets the Reality of Drug Approval.

Professor Maya Manian posted the following: The 2014 Midterm Elections and Access to Reproductive Healthcare, The Criminalization of Pregnant Women, Health Exceptions in Anti-Abortion Legislation, and Young v. UPS: Will the Supreme Court Deliver a Healthy Ruling for Pregnant Workers?.

Assistant Professor Jessica L. Roberts posted the following: Healthism? The EEOC, Employer Wellness Programs, and Discrimination on the Basis of Health Status, Executive Power and the Employer Mandate, and Turkey for Me, Turkey for You: The FDA Kicks Off the Holiday Season by Finalizing Two Anti-Obesity Rules.

December 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Associate Dean and Professor of Law Joan H. Krause: The Right to Try Meets the Reality of Drug Approval

KrauseWhether it be a social media campaign to convince a company to provide an experimental anti-viral drug to a young cancer patient suffering from a life-threatening infection or the debate over appropriate treatment for high-profile Ebola cases, access to potentially life-saving but unapproved medications remains a controversial issue. Two recent articles, published on the same day, illustrate the difficulty of trying to balance desperate patients’ willingness to try unproven therapies with the very real concerns faced by manufacturers undergoing the drug approval process. The first was a Kaiser Health News article describing the passage of “Right to Try” laws in five states. The second was a brief note in the Los Angeles Business Journal that shares of CytRx Corporation, a biopharmaceutical R&D company, had fallen 9% after the company announced that the FDA had placed a partial clinical hold on its clinical trials after a patient’s death.

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December 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Guest Blogger Professor Rebecca Dresser: When the Professional Becomes Personal

DresserMost of the time, we teach and write about health issues from a distance. We don’t deal with matters like access to health care and enrolling in clinical trials ourselves. But every so often, a personal event disrupts this situation. We find ourselves facing the very issues we are used to considering from a comfortable, professional point of view.

This happened to me and six of my medical ethics colleagues, Dan Brock, Norman Fost, Arthur Frank, Leon Kass, Patty Marshall, and John Robertson. After many years of writing and teaching about serious illness and ethics, serious illness and ethics became something personal. Five of us were diagnosed with life-threatening cancers and three had spouses in that situation (one of us faced both situations).

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December 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Introducing Guest Blogger Professor Rebecca Dresser

HealthLawProf Blog is very pleased to welcome our first guest blogger for the month of December, Professor of Law Rebecca Dresser. The following is her short bio:

DresserRebecca Dresser is the Daniel Noyes Kirby Professor of Law and Professor of Ethics in Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. Since 1983, she has taught medical and law students about legal and ethical issues in end-of-life care, biomedical research, genetics, assisted reproduction, and related topics. Before coming to Washington University, she taught at Baylor College of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University. In 2003, she was a Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Tokyo, where she taught a short course in law and bioethics. Dresser received her law degree from Harvard Law School. Her book, When Science Offers Salvation: Patient Advocacy and Research Ethics, was published by Oxford University Press in 2001. She also edited and contributed to Malignant: Medical Ethicists Confront Cancer (Oxford University Press, 2012). She is a co-author of The Human Use of Animals: Case Studies in Ethical Choice (Oxford University Press, 2d Edition, 2008) and Bioethics and Law: Cases, Materials and Problems (West Publishing Co., 2003). Dresser has written numerous journal articles, as well as commissioned papers for the National Academy of Sciences and National Bioethics Advisory Commission. She is Chair of the Hastings Center Fellows Council and an “At Law” columnist for the Hastings Center Report. From 2002-2009, she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. In 2011, she was appointed to a four-year term on the National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.

December 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Professor Jean Macchiaroli Eggen - Will the Neuroscience Revolution Change Tort Law?: Some Thoughts on the Mental Disabilities* Rule in Negligence Law

Eggen_Headshot (2)Over the past several decades research in neuroscience, through the use of functional neuroimaging and other techniques, has sought to explain a vast array of human thought processes and behaviors, and the law has taken a keen interest in these studies. Neuroscience has offered tantalizing insights into human cognition and decision making. Criminal law has been the most frequently discussed area of the law to take an interest in and incorporate neuroscience research, most notably in matters related to juvenile sentencing. E.g. Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 2464-65 (2012) (noting that neuroscience has demonstrated a fundamental difference between juvenile and adult brains and holding that mandatory life imprisonment without parole for persons under the age of eighteen was unconstitutional); Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) (prohibiting the death penalty for older juveniles based, in part, on brain development studies). 

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December 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Professor Maya Manian - Young v. UPS: Will the Supreme Court Deliver a Healthy Ruling for Pregnant Workers?

Manian fbIn Young v. United Parcel Service, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on December 3, 2014, the Court will decide whether the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protects pregnant workers from suffering economic harms due to pregnancy-related health conditions. The PDA provides that pregnant women “shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes … as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.”

In 2006, Peggy Young became pregnant while working as a delivery truck driver for UPS. Her healthcare provider recommended that she not lift more than twenty pounds, but Young’s job description required hauling much heavier packages. Based on the medical advice she received, Young requested a temporary accommodation of a lightened load similar to accommodations UPS already granted other workers. Young’s supervisor denied her request and sent her on an unpaid leave, during which she lost her healthcare benefits.

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December 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hamline University Health Law Institute - reception at AALS 2015

Are you attending AALS 2015? The Hamline University Health Law Institute cordially invites you and a guest to a reception honoring members of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Law, Medicine and Health Care.  

When: Friday, January 2, 2015, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at:

Where:  Lebanese Taverna
              2641 Connecticut Avenue NW
              Washington, DC 20008
              
(202) 265-8681 

Please RSVP here by December 20.

We look forward to seeing you,

Thaddeus Pope
Jonathan Kahn
Laura Hermer
Jean Holloway
David Larson
Barbara Colombo
Kim Dayton

December 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Assistant Professor Jessica L. Roberts - Turkey for Me, Turkey for You: The FDA Kicks Off the Holiday Season by Finalizing Two Anti-Obesity Rules

RobertsLast Thursday was Thanksgiving, the gateway meal to the notoriously high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie American holiday season. One recent estimate speculates that Americans consume approximately 4500 calories during Thanksgiving dinner, with about 45% of those calories coming from fat. While traditional wisdom holds that most Americans gain between seven and ten pound over the holidays, several studies have indicated that on average we gain only one pound. However, that happy news comes with a few qualifiers: one, overweight people gain about five pounds over the holidays (instead of the average one) and two, once we gain that extra pound, we never lose it, leading to gradual weight gain over the course our lifetimes. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight is more of a marathon than a sprint. Although countless websites are replete with tips for avoiding holiday bloat, the real battle happens long after the menorahs and wreaths go back into the closet.

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December 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Published This Week

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guest Blogger Associate Dean and Professor of Law Joan H. Krause: The Complicated Relationship Between Integration and Health Care Fraud

KrauseOn October 17, CMS announced a one-year extension of the interim final rule on Final Waivers in Connection With the Shared Savings Program. The interim rule, published on November 2, 2011, established waivers of the Stark self-referral prohibitions, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and some civil monetary penalties provisions for certain entities participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Per the interim rule, HHS was required to consider comments and publish a final rule within three years; that deadline has now been extended until November 2, 2015. In announcing the delay, CMS explained that feedback from the initial stages of the MSSP suggested that modifications were necessary before the waiver rule could be finalized.

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November 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Newsletter for the AALS Section on Law, Medicine and Health Care

I'm editing the newsletter for the AALS Section on Law, Medicine and Health Care.  I'd love to get news from folks who are AALS members--or news from others that might be relevant to AALS members.  I've asked for replies by December 20th, so I can get the newsletter out before the AALS meeting in January.

You can send me all that good stuff here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XWKYJVY

Thanks!

Leslie Francis

November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Assistant Professor Jessica L. Roberts: Executive Power and the Employer Mandate

RobertsOn Friday, November 21, 2014, House Speaker John Boehner, on behalf of the GOP-run House of Representatives, filed a lawsuit alleging that the Obama administration abused executive power with respect to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The suit, filed against the secretaries of the Treasury and HHS and their respective departments, makes two central claims: one, that the White House acted unlawfully by twice delaying the implementation of the employer mandate and two, that the funds tied to the ACA’s cost-sharing program were not authorized by Congress.

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November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Professor Maya Manian: Health Exceptions in Anti-Abortion Legislation

ManianIn the recent midterm elections, Tennesseevoters approved a ballot measure thatstripped protection for abortion rights from the state constitution. Legislators have wasted no time in proposing new bills to restrict access to abortion. Tennessee state representative Rick Womick, a Republican, has quickly filed an anti-abortion bill that would impose mandatory ultrasounds and waiting periods for women seeking abortion care. Abortion providers already routinely perform an ultrasound as part of pre-procedure abortion care and give the woman the option to view the ultrasound image—a step that rarely changes a woman’s mind about choosing abortion. The crucial difference between general medical practice and the proposed Tennessee legislation (which is similar to mandatory ultrasound laws in other states), is that the law forces the woman to either view the image or listen to a description of the image regardless of her wishes. Abortion foes push mandatory ultrasound legislation to shame and demean women seeking abortion care.

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November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AALS Annual Meeting Program: An Examination of Patient Dumping By Hospitals After Thirty Years of EMTALA

The Section on Law and Mental Disability is very pleased to announce the exciting panel An Examination of Patient Dumping By Hospitals After Thirty Years of EMTALA.

Our speakers will be:

1. Martin Castro, Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; 

2. Hernan Vera, President & CEO, Public Counsel (the largest pro bono law firm in the country);  

3. Richard Elliott, M.D., PhD., Professor and Director, Professionalism and Medical Ethics, Mercer University School of Medicine (a nationally recognized forensic psychiatrist specializing in EMTALA and mental health disabilities);

4. Katharine Van Tassel, Director of the Public Health Law & Science Center and Health Law Programs and Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law; and,  

5. Moderator Barry Kozak, Director, Elder Law Programs, The John Marshall School of Law.

This panel will  be presented on Saturday, January 3, 2015 from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. at the AALS Annual Meeting. Our co-sponsors are the Section on Law, Medicine and Healthcare, the Section on Disability Law and the Section on Civil Rights.

Here is the description: 

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986 (EMTALA) was designed to ensure equal access to emergency treatment by hospitals and to stop the practice of "patient dumping." Patient dumping occurs when patients needing emergency care— typically uninsured, disabled, and minority individuals— are transferred, prematurely discharged, or are denied treatment altogether. Thirty years after EMTALA was passed, patient dumping is still occurring. And healthcare delivery has changed dramatically, with stunning advances in medical science and the advent of major, national movements toward evidence-based medicine care and systems-based quality improvement.

Have these sweeping changes left EMTALA behind, so out of touch with current practice that it is now harming, rather than helping, equal access to emergency care? What impact will the Affordable Care Act have on EMTALA? What impact is EMTALA having on the push for community-based services, the growing use of telemedicine, medical repatriation and the number of the mentally disabled in prisons? This panel will address these questions and others while analyzing a forthcoming report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on EMTALA. The panel will also share teaching materials on covering EMTALA in doctrinal courses. 

The Report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on EMTALA and Patient Dumping was released in September of 2014 and can be found here.

November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Assistant Professor Marc D. Ginsberg: Informed Consent

GinsbergThe law of informed consent has been the subject of scholarship for many years, and with good reason. Informed consent is central to the physician-patient relationship, emphasizing patient autonomy. The springboard for the doctrine may have been Canterbury v. Spence, 464 F.2d 773 (D.C. Cir. 1972). Canterbury speaks to the intent of informed consent to apply to a specific treatment or therapy which is recommended for a specific diagnosis.

My most recent law review article, to appear in the Wayne Law Review, addresses the expansion of informed consent to a doctrine of full disclosure, requiring the physician to disclose the differential diagnosis and various tests/treatments to explore the differential diagnosis. The paper focuses on the experiences in Wisconsin, Washington State and Alaska.

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November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)