Is this a violation of HIPAA? Medical Marijuana card disclosure without my permission.

Asked about 2 years ago - Ann Arbor, MI

My husband and I are going through a divorce and he is fighting me for custody of our two daughters. At the beginning of June, he went to a doctor I had seen in June 2011 for a MMJ card recommendation. He presented the doctor with audio transcripts of me, that he illegally recorded, and the doctor wrote a letter for him saying when I got the card, why I got it (my medical condition), etc. and that because of these transcripts, that my card should be revoked. The card was expired by the time my husband went to see him anyway. Isn't this a violation of my privacy? I never ever gave him permission to discuss my medical history with my husband or with anyone else. I have told a few people and they are telling me that I should sue the doctor. Do I have a case?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. James M. Osak

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . There are two issues going here:

    (1) The recording is LEGAL if your husband recorded it
    AND he was part of the conversation with you. In
    other words, no third-party recorded you having
    a conversation with hubby.

    (2) Medical Marijuana use (MMJ) FOR medical purposes
    would be covered under HIPAA as any other prescription
    drug would be covered. So . . . if Doc discussed with
    anybody else but you . . . YES that would violate the
    "spirit" of HIPAA. You however cannot sue under the
    HIPAA code (no private action or lawsuit). You report
    the good doctor to the Michigan State agency that
    oversees HIPAA [in Lansing, MI].

    (3) BONUS ROUND! Do you have a possible lawsuit against
    Hubby? You might under: a) "invasion of privacy," and
    "defamation" as he put you in a "bad light" (with doctor)
    causing you damages (loss of the MMJ card). Did you GIVE
    PERMISSION to Hubby to discuss your condition with the Doc
    or anyone else? If NO then it's a GO! -----Good luck!

    THIS ANSWER IS PURELY FOR ACADEMIC DISCUSSION ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ANY TYPE OF LEGAL ADVICE OR LEGAL... more

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