Court imposes $2.2M fine on NewYork-Presbyterian for allowing filming without patient consent

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital agreed to pay a $2.2 million fine, update its privacy policies and improve staff training after it allowed television crews to film patients without their consent, according to ProPublica.

Involved in the ruling is the case of Mark Chanko, a patient whose 2011 death at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center was filmed by ABC's hit reality show "NY Med." When his widow, Anita Chanko, saw her husband on TV in August 2012, she sued the hospital and the TV network. The case was dismissed in November 2014, but was revived earlier this month in the New York Court of Appeals, according to ProPublica.

The court decided in a unanimous decision — with one justice abstaining — to allow the case to proceed on allegations of breaching the doctor-patient contract. The court did rule to drop claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress against the physician, hospital and ABC, according to ProPublica.

As a result of the case, federal regulators also clarified that hospitals must receive consent from all patients present before allowing film crews into treatment areas, according to the report. HHS' Office for Civil Rights said it was insufficient for film crews to mask patient identities if they did not receive authorization. It said HIPAA requires authorization before media can access patient health information, according to the report.

NewYork-Presbyterian maintains it did not violate HIPAA and issued the following statement: "Our participation in the ABC News documentary program 'NY Med' was intended to educate the public and provide insight into the complexities of medical care and the daily challenges faced by our dedicated and compassionate medical professionals," the statement said, according to ProPublica. "This program, and the others that preceded it, garnered critical acclaim, and raised the public's consciousness of important public health issues, including organ transplantation and donation. It also vividly depicted how our emergency department medical team works tirelessly every day to save patients' lives."

See the full report here.


More articles on legal and regulatory issues:

Ex-hospital CFO's grand theft trial delayed as lawyers work to resolve case
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Physician fired after hiding cameras in NY hospital's bathroom

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