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New Decision from the Colorado Supreme Court Affects Physician-Patient Privilege

In re: Ortega v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Lieuwen

The Colorado Supreme Court holds that section 13-90-107(1)(d)(I), C.R.S. (2011), provides an exception to the physician-patient privilege codified in section 13-90-107(1)(d). The exception applies when a patient institutes an action against a physician, and that action arises out of or is connected with the physician"s care or treatment of the patient. In that instance, the information acquired by the physician is not privileged.

The Colorado Supreme Court also holds that section 10-16-423, C.R.S. (2011), rather than the physician-patient privilege, governs the confidentiality of health maintenance organization (“HMO") members" information. Section 10-16-423 controls the confidentiality of enrollee information provided to HMOs by enrollees and medical providers and also contains an exception for the disclosure of relevant information in the event of a claim or litigation between the HMO and the enrollee.

Finally, the supreme court holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied plaintiff"s motion for a protective order and determined that the plaintiff"s electronic medical record was relevant to preparing a defense.

Additional resources provided by the author

Opinions of the Colorado Supreme Court are available to the public and can be accessed through the Court‟s homepage (see link below). Opinions are also posted on the Colorado Bar Association homepage (see link below).

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