Court revives patient's lawsuit against Indiana hospital for medical record snooping, HIPAA violation  

An Indiana Court of Appeals reinstated a patient's claim that Fort Wayne-based Parkview Health System is vicariously liable for the actions of an employee who viewed the patient's medical records and wrongfully shared the information, according to The Indiana Lawyer

In October 2017, former Parkview Health medical assistant Alexis Christian accessed Haley SoderVick's medical records during her appointment and then shared protected health information, including potential diagnosis and employment, with Ms. Christian's husband. 

After notifying Ms. SoderVick in May 2018 of the inappropriate disclosure of her protected health information, Ms. SoderVick sued Parkview Health, claiming the hospital was vicariously liable for Ms. Christian's actions, it was negligent for failing to provide adequate training and supervision and also alleged Parkview Health violated its data protection duties under HIPAA. 

Parkview Health had sought summary judgement on the claims, or a ruling to end the case before trial, which was granted. Ms. SoderVick then appealed the summary judgment on the claim that Parkview Health was responsible for Ms. Christian's actions. The Court of Appeals majority reversed and remanded, ruling that Ms. Christian's actions met the test of whether it was incidental to employment. 

"Parkview argued in its motion for summary judgment that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether Christian was acting in the scope of her employment. But we find that there is a genuine issue of fact on the scope of employment issue; specifically, there is an issue of fact as to whether Christian’s conduct was incidental to authorized employment activities. We therefore find that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Parkview on the respondeat superior claim, reverse that portion of the order, and remand for further proceedings,” Judge John Baker wrote in the court documents, according to the publication. 

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