Knowledge Library

Review of Bohn v. Providence Health Services Lawsuit

The Alaska Supreme Court recently interpreted a portion of the Alaska Healthcare Decision Act under Bohn v. Providence Health Services – Washington. While this is the first time the Court has interpreted the HCDA, its decision focused on a single provision of the statute, AS 13.52.080(a)(3). This provision grants immunity to health care providers declining to comply with a person’s health care decision so long as the provider “acts in good faith and in accordance with generally accepted health care standards” and so long as the refusal to comply is “based on a good faith belief that the person then...

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Informed Refusal: What to do when patients cancel recommended treatments or procedures due to COVID-19 related concerns.

Physicians are often faced with situations where they believe a specific medical treatment or procedure is necessary or even lifesaving and yet the patient declines the service due to concerns of being exposed to COVID-19. Taking extra time to have a clear and candid conversation with the patient can make a significant difference. First, consider whether the patient was given adequate information and encouraged to ask questions about the treatment options. Assuring the patient is fully informed allows the patient to make the best decisions for their healthcare. Second, take efforts to explain what additional measures you have adapted to...

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New Law Alert: California 2021

While coronavirus dominated much of the California legislative landscape in 2020, a number of bills on a variety of subjects impacting health care providers were signed into law by Governor Newsom. Following are a few new laws you should be aware of; all are effective January 1, 2021 unless otherwise noted.   Employee Notification of COVID-19 Exposure: AB 685 (Reyes) requires employers to provide written notification within 24 hours to their employees if they are potentially exposed, at the workplace, to a person who was infectious with COVID-19 or who was subject to a COVID-19 related quarantine order. The law...

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Patient Rights of Access to Medical Information

Much of the discussion around patient privacy and confidentiality centers around appropriately restricting and securing access to protected health information, and this is for good reason- threats such as data breaches and cyber attacks often dominate the news, and medical practices are understandably concerned about the risks of litigation and bad publicity associated with privacy violations.    It is important, however, to remember that patients have the right to access, and in some cases to direct others to access, their medical information in a timely fashion and at a reasonable cost.  Providers own their physical records, but patients increasingly expect to have the ability to exercise their legal rights to the information contained in those records.  Laws pertaining to medical...

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ONC Final Rule on Information Blocking

Beginning in April 2021, patients will have the right to directly access their electronic health information under a new federal requirement.  On May 1, 2020 the DHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a Final Rule on Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program (part of the 21st Century Cures Act).  The law is also known informally as the “Open Charts law.” The Final Rule prohibits the practice of “information blocking,” which is defined as any practice which is likely to interfere with access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI)...

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