May 20, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Exception to Physician-Patient Privilege when Patient Institutes Action Arising Out of Physician’s Care or Treatment of Patient

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Ortega v. Colorado Permanente Medical Group, P.C. on November 7, 2011.

Physician–Patient Privilege—Health Maintenance Organization—Confidentiality Requirements.

The Supreme Court held that CRS § 13-90-107(1)(d)(I) provides an exception to the physician–patient privilege codified in CRS § 13-90-107(1)(d). The exception applies when a patient institutes an action against a physician, and that action arises out of or is connected with the physician’s care or treatment of the patient. In that instance, the information acquired by the physician is not privileged.

The Court also held that CRS § 10-16-423 does not govern the physician–patient privilege; instead, it governs the confidentiality of health maintenance organization (HMO) members’ information. CRS § 10-16-423 controls the confidentiality of enrollee information provided to HMOs by enrollees and medical providers, and contains an exception for the disclosure of relevant information in the event a claim or litigation occurs between the HMO and the enrollee.

Finally, the Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied plaintiff’s motion for a protective order and determined that plaintiff’s electronic medical record was relevant to preparing a defense. Accordingly, the Court discharged the rule to show cause.

Summary and full case available here.

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