The Value of Patient Information

confidential-file.jpgFlorida and a number of states attempting to outlaw so called ambulance chasing in personal injury cases have employed several methods to limit access to records of patients. First, statutes prohibit access to police accident reports for 60-days. Second, statutes as well as professional rules regulating the professional conduct of lawyers and health care license holders prohibit the direct solicitation of patients for services.
Nevertheless, there have been some novel ways developed to get around those laws, including every once in a while someone starting a “newspaper” to use a media exception to the rule regarding access to accident reports. With restrictions on direct access to accident information, a black market for patient information has developed as well as intricate referral networks, including everyone involved in accidents, from tow truck drivers and auto body employees, to ambulance service employees, to hospital employees.
All these involve payments of one type or another, generally in cash, for access to that information and people who employ themselves gathering that information. In a recent case, a Miami man was indicted for a second time for bribing employees, first of an ambulance company, and then hospital employees to get patient information for personal injury attorneys.
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