HIPAA violated in divorce proceeding, suit claims

Ann Knef Jul. 10, 2007, 3:15am

A woman involved in a divorce proceeding is suing St. Elizabeth's Hospital and her ex-husband's attorney claiming they mishandled her medical records in violation of the Health Insurance Probability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) and the Illinois Medical Patient Rights Act.

According to a civil suit filed June 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Kyoung Suk Kim claims Belleville attorney Charles W. Courtney, Jr. submitted a subpoena to St. Elizabeth's, "without express written authorization from Kim or accompanying court order, requesting medical health information, including mental health records, of Kim, option being given to the hospital to forward the requested records in lieu of a deposition."

Courtney represented Kim's ex-husband Christopher M. Stuhldreher, the suit claims.

Kim claims that shortly after Courtney's request was made on June 28, 2005, the hospital forwarded her records.

The suit also names the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Hospital Sisters Health System and Courtney, Clark & Associates as defendants.

Kim claims the hospital had a duty to maintain the confidentiality of her medical health information. She claims that she has suffered injury to her reputation as well as mental pain and anguish, and incurred medical treatment expenses.

"That one's physical health and medical condition are among the most intimate and personal aspects of one's life and the right to privacy of such is at the core of what society, and this State regard as a fundamental component of individual privacy," the complaint states.

Seeking in excess of $900,000 in damages, Kim is represented by D. Jeffrey Ezra and Sarah D. Smith of Ezra & Associates in Collinsville.

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