June 19, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Colorado Consumer Health Initiative v. Colorado Board of Health

on June 10, 2010.

Patient Copy Rule—Colorado Board of Health—Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)—Summary Judgment—Undisputed Facts.

In this declaratory judgment action challenging the Colorado Board of Health’s “patient copy rule,” plaintiff, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), appealed the summary judgment entered for defendant, the Colorado Board of Health (CBH), as well as the denial of its cross motion for summary judgment. The trial court’s order denying CCHI’s summary judgment motion was affirmed, its order entering summary judgment for CBH was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

CBH is a state regulatory board that has the authority to adopt and amend rules regarding public health. CBH’s rule, generally known as the “patient copy rule,” establishes the fees that health-care facilities can charge for providing copies of a patient’s medical records. CCHI filed a complaint for declaratory relief challenging CBH’s rules amending the patient copy rule in 2001 and 2008. On cross motions for summary judgment, the court granted CBH’s motion and denied CCHI’s motion.

CCHI contended that because the patient copy rule does not comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the trial court erred in entering summary judgment for CBH and against CCHI. When HIPAA took effect in 2003, the portion of the 2001 rule that applies to HIPAA-covered individuals, which the Board readopted in the 2008 rulemaking, was required to come into compliance with HIPAA. To comply with HIPAA, the portion of the patient copy rule that applies to HIPAA-covered individuals must be cost-based and must not include costs beyond supplies for and the labor of copying. Here, neither CCHI nor CBH provided the trial court with undisputed facts demonstrating that it was legally entitled to summary judgment regarding the patient copy rule’s compliance with HIPAA; therefore, neither party was entitled to summary judgment on this issue.

CCHI also contended that the trial court erred in entering summary judgment for CBH and against CCHI on the issue of the patient copy rule’s compliance with Colorado law. Colorado law provides that health-care facilities must furnish copies of medical records to the patient “upon the payment of the reasonable costs.” Here, neither CCHI nor CBH provided the trial court with undisputed facts demonstrating that it was legally entitled to summary judgment regarding the patient copy rule’s compliance with Colorado law; therefore, neither party was entitled to summary judgment on this issue.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries by the Colorado Court of Appeals on June 10, 2010, can be found here.

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