The author wishes to thank Andrew M. Hodgson for his assistance in preparing this post. Andrew is an Associate in the Firm’s Chattanooga office.
As I approach the quarter century mark of my practice as a tort, healthcare and commercial litigator, predominately on the defense side, I reflect on some of the land mines that face the defense bar. These land mines include missing an affirmative defense, failing to join a necessary party, failing to enlist the services of all the expert witnesses needed to combat the plaintiff’s claims, and the list goes on. Even so, I would argue that none of these potential pitfalls can hold a candle to the specter of statutes of limitations and pre-suit requirements facing the plaintiff’s bar. In Tennessee, as in many states, those hurdles are magnified by pre-suit notices and other filings required of the plaintiff in making a healthcare liability claim. In November, the Supreme Court of Tennessee highlighted the importance of “crossing all your t’s and dotting all your i’s” when making such a claim in the case of Stevens v. Hickman Community Healthcare Services, Inc., No. M2012-00582-SC-S09-CV (Tenn. filed Nov. 25, 2013). Importantly, the Stevens court also made instructive rulings as to HIPAA preemption and a defendant’s right to receive records in healthcare liability actions.
Continue Reading So You Want to be a Plaintiff’s Healthcare Liability Attorney?: The Risks of Non-Compliant HIPAA Medical Authorizations in Tennessee Pre-Suit Notices