Spring 2014 Health Law Bulletin

Practice trends emerge following adoption of Mass. med-mal notice law

In July 2012, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a medical malpractice reform law designed to encourage pre-suit settlement talks. The law, among other requirements, mandates that a patient’s attorney provide notice to a healthcare provider, within 182 days prior to filing a lawsuit, of any alleged medical negligence, unless the claimant files a med-mal suit within six months of the statute of limitations expiring. Pamela S. Gilman discusses issues she and other attorneys at Barton Gilman have encountered since the pre-suit notice provision of the law (M.G.L. c. 231, § 60L) went into effect.

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HIPAA compliance update after the Omnibus Final Rule

Following adoption of the Omnibus Final Rule in 2013 that substantially altered rules on privacy, security, and breach notification and increased penalty amounts for violations under HIPAA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a new security risk assessment tool, and is scheduled to begin a new HIPAA audit program in the near future.

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Health care professionals must report opioid overdoses under new RI health regulation  

Under a new Rhode Island Department of Health regulation, health care professionals and hospitals must report opioid overdoses or suspected overdoses within 48 hours. Declaring opioid-related overdose deaths in the state a “public health epidemic,” the Department of Health said the new reporting requirement will help identify the risk factors for overdose, and identify individuals for substance abuse treatments.

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‘Over-disclosing’ expert witnesses in med-mal case can potentially lead to sanctions

Parties in medical malpractice lawsuits can be sanctioned for “over-disclosing” experts prior to trial, a Rhode Island Superior Court judge recently ruled.

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