Vanderbilt wins lawsuit by former physician accused of snooping in ex-wife's EHR

Hannah Mitchell - Print  | 

Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center has won a lawsuit filed by a former medical resident who said the system was obligated to defend him against claims that he snooped in his ex-wife's EHR during their divorce, according to a Sept. 13 Nashville Tennessean report.

Five details:

  1. Douglas Burka, MD, worked at the system from 2010-12. In 2015 and 2016, Dr. Burka was sued by his ex-wife in two separate lawsuits for allegedly using his position as a physician to improperly access her medical records.

  2. The lawsuits claimed Dr. Burka looked at her therapy records at hospitals in Maryland, Maine and Tennessee. He said he had her verbal authorization to do so, whereas Vanderbilt requires written authorization. The lawsuits from his ex-wife ended in confidential settlements.

  3. Dr. Burka sued Vanderbilt in 2019, claiming it was contractually obligated to defend him in court against his ex-wife's lawsuits. Vanderbilt said it was not obligated to defend Dr. Burka because the actions he was accused of violated his employment terms.

  4. A judge ruled that Vanderbilt is not liable to Dr. Burka and did not have a duty to defend him.

  5. "We are pleased with the decision, as we take patient privacy very seriously and never believed we were obligated to provide a defense of the underlying privacy violations that occurred in this case," Michael Regier, an attorney for Vanderbilt, told the publication.

Copyright © 2021 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.