To address the impact of COVID-19 on patient privacy, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights recently issued a bulletin discussing how HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates may use or disclose patient information during an outbreak or other emergency situation. This post summarizes relevant authorized uses and disclosures under HIPAA.
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The Missouri Supreme Court approved two completely new jury instructions for civil cases that require the immediate attention of Missouri civil litigators, becoming effecting July 1, 2017. Rules E1.00 and E1.01 allow the Court to read an Early Case Summary to the jury before the beginning of voir dire. The instruction is not mandatory, but left to the discretion of the trial judge. These Early Case Summaries will include a brief description of the case, the plaintiff’s claims and the defendant’s defenses, the appropriate burden of proof instruction and boilerplate instructions to be included in the final instruction packet (i.e. the definition of negligence instruction).
In addition to the proposed changes to the collateral source rule discussed in last week’s article, the Missouri Legislature is also working toward significant changes to the standard for the admission of expert witness testimony. Currently, pursuant to RSMo § 490.065, witnesses can be qualified as experts and permitted to offer opinions if they possess “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education” that could help the jury understand scientific or technical issues.
Recent actions by both the Missouri Senate and Missouri House of Representatives regarding the admissibility of evidence in civil actions would substantially change the litigation of medical negligence cases. In this article I discuss the proposed changes to RSMo § 490.715 related to the admissibility of evidence of the cost of medical care; commonly referred to as the “collateral source rule.” On February 2, the House passed and sent to the Senate HB 95. HB 95 modifies § 490.715, precluding the admission into evidence of the amount an injured party was billed for medical care that is alleged to have been caused by the defendant, but only if the amount billed was discounted or if the amount billed was satisfied by an amount less than the amount billed.