Justia Health Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois
Doe v. Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, LLC
The attorneys represented Doe in a medical malpractice action against a hospital and other medical staff. During that litigation, the evidence established that, after Doe was admitted to the emergency room of the hospital, he attempted suicide by stabbing himself multiple times. The hospital sought a qualified protective order under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, 42 U.S.C. 1320d) to gain access to Doe’s protected health information and requested a subpoena pursuant to HIPAA. At trial, Doe testified in detail about his suicide attempt, his injuries therefrom, and his diagnosis., Doe was awarded $4.2 million. Subsequently, the attorneys issued a press release related to the medical malpractice trial describing Doe’s suicide attempt, the resulting injuries, and his diagnoses and commented on the medical malpractice case and Doe’s history for an article published in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.Doe alleged that the attorneys violated the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act (740 ILCS 110/1). The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal of his case. Doe waived his claims of confidentiality under the Act by voluntarily and publicly disclosing his private health information in a public trial; the qualified protective order under HIPAA did not preclude such waiver. The evidence and testimony divulged during Doe’s medical malpractice trial were not records or communications made in the course of mental health services; therefore, the Act does not apply. View "Doe v. Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, LLC" on Justia Law
Mosby v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital
Mosby, an RN, filed a class-action suit, alleging that she used a medication dispensing system and its finger-scan device, distributed and marketed by BD, to provide patient care, i.e., to authenticate her identity and access controlled and restricted material. Mosby alleged that BD violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act (740 ILCS 14/15(a), (b), (d)) by using the scanning device to collect, use, and/or store her finger scan data without complying with the Act’s notice and consent provisions and by disclosing her purported biometric data to third parties without first obtaining her written consent. BD argued that the finger scan data restricted access to protected health information and medication and was used for health care treatment and operations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 45 C.F.R. 164.501, specifically excluded from the scope of the Act.On interlocutory appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the Act’s exclusion of ‘information collected, used, or stored for health care treatment, payment, or operations under” HIPAA applies to biometric information of health care workers (as opposed to patients) collected, used or stored for health care treatment, payment or operations under HIPAA. Finger-scan information collected by a health care provider from its employees falls within that exclusion when the employee’s finger-scan information is used for purposes related to ‘health care,’ ‘treatment,’ ‘payment,’ or ‘operations’ as defined by HIPAA. View "Mosby v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital" on Justia Law
In re Craig H.
In 2013, Craig (age 49) executed an Illinois statutory short-form health care power of attorney, appointing his mother as his agent. In 2016, Craig was hospitalized at McFarland after being charged with burglary and found unfit to stand trial. In 2018, a McFarland psychiatrist sought to involuntarily administer psychotropic medications to Craig under the Mental Health Code, 405 ILCS 5/2-107. Craig alleged that decisions on his medical treatment rested with his agent. A psychiatrist testified that Craig was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, when he was 25 years old and had been experiencing hallucinations with symptoms of paranoia, inability to sleep, poor impulse control, hypersexuality, physical aggression, and psychomotor agitation; Craig had no understanding of his mental illness and lacked the capacity to make rational treatment decisions. She opined that the benefits of the medications outweighed the potential risks. Without treatment, Craig was unable to live outside a hospital. Craig’s 82-year-old mother declined to consent, believing that the medications caused brain damage, made Craig “like a zombie,” and made him look “like a man without a head.”The trial court granted the petition for involuntary administration of psychotropic medication for a period not to exceed 90 days. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The Mental Health Code, which includes strict standards for an order permitting involuntary administration of psychotropic medications, provides a narrow exception to an agent’s authority to make a principal’s health care decisions. View "In re Craig H." on Justia Law
In re Hernandez
In 2009-2011, Hernandez sustained on-the-job injuries and received medical treatment. In 2016, she filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and reported unsecured claims held by three health care providers to whom she owed $28,709.60, $58,901.20, and $50,161.26 respectively. She reported minimal assets: $1300 in bank accounts and her pending workers’ compensation claim, valued at $31,000. Two days after filing her petition, Hernandez settled her workers’ compensation claim for $30,566.33 without consulting the bankruptcy trustee. She believed the settlement was exempt under section 21 of the Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/21). That statute provides: “No payment, claim, award or decision under this Act shall be assignable or subject to any lien, attachment or garnishment, or be held liable in any way for any lien, debt, penalty or damages….” The health care providers objected; the district court ruled in their favor.The Illinois Supreme Court answered a question of Illinois law certified by the Seventh Circuit: After the 2005 amendments to section 8 of the Workers’ Compensation Act and the enactment of section 8.2 of the Act, section 21 of the Act does exempt the proceeds of a workers’ compensation settlement from the claims of medical-care providers who treated the illness associated with that settlement or injury. View "In re Hernandez" on Justia Law
Lakewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Department of Public Health
In 2012, Sauvageau became a Lakewood resident, paying for her residency through her pension and Social Security income without other government assistance. Sauvageau stopped paying in August 2013. On October 28, 2013, Lakewood sent her a notice of involuntary transfer or discharge. Sauvageau’s counsel requested a hearing. She applied for Medicaid benefits; the application was denied on January 13, 2014. On February 10, 2014, at a prehearing conference, Lakewood argued that, under the Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/1-101), the Department could not conduct a hearing more than 10 days from the date of a resident’s request. The ALJ denied Lakewood’s motion. The hearing was conducted on March 24, 2014. In April 2014, the ALJ recommended that the involuntary discharge be approved. On May 6, the Department’s final administrative decision approved Lakewood’s notice of involuntary discharge. Sauvageau left Lakewood on May 29, 2014. Lakewood sought review, asserting that the Department lacked authority to exceed the statutory 10-day hearing time and 14-day decision time for involuntary transfer or discharge proceedings. The Illinois Supreme Court held that section 3-411 of the Act is directory because it does not contain negative language precluding the Department from conducting a hearing beyond the 10-day time period and because the rights of nursing home residents will not be generally injured by a directory construction. View "Lakewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Department of Public Health" on Justia Law
Palm v. Holocker
Defendant struck Plaintiff, a pedestrian with his vehicle. Plaintiff filed a personal injury suit. Defendant filed an answer with an affirmative defense. Defendant answered an interrogatory about his drivers' license by stating that he had diabetes and required medical approval to drive, but refused to answer follow-up questions about his medical condition, stating that the question violates HIPAA, doctor-patient privilege; the Defendant has not placed his medical condition at issue. The court found that Plaintiff had legitimate cause to believe that Defendant had sight problems that could have been related to the accident and held Defendant’s attorney in contempt. The court found the attorney was not entitled to assert the physician-patient privilege, 735 ILCS 5/8-802. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s reversal of the contempt order. A plaintiff may not waive a defendant’s privilege by putting the defendant’s medical condition at issue. Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant asserted anything about defendant’s physical or mental condition. If these allegations put a defendant’s medical condition in issue, then it will be at issue in most traffic accident cases. The court urged the legislature to clarify the meaning of “at issue” and noted that, when a patient obtains a physician’s report to maintain his driving privileges, he is not seeking treatment so the privilege does not apply to the record filed with the Secretary of State. View "Palm v. Holocker" on Justia Law
Yarbrough v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Erie is a Chicago “Federally Qualified Health Center” (FQHC), 42 U.S.C. 254b (2012). FQHCs rely heavily on federal grants and Medicaid reimbursement. Erie Employees are federal employees under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 42 U.S.C. 233(a). Erie was founded as a project between Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) and Erie Neighborhood House in 1957. NMH provides financial support and technical assistance, but Erie physicians seeking NMH privileges are required to apply for them. In 2005, Yarbrough went to the Erie after searching for a clinic that would not require insurance coverage. Yarbrough was informed that she would have her ultrasounds done at Northwestern and would likely deliver her baby at NMH. Based upon information she received during the visit, Yarbrough believed that Erie and NMH were the same entity. Yarbrough sued NMH. based on her daughter’s premature birth, alleging medical negligence. The Illinois Supreme Court answered a certified question: A hospital cannot be held vicariously liable under the doctrine of apparent agency set forth in Gilbert v. Sycamore, for the acts of the employees of an unrelated, independent clinic that is not a party to the litigation. Yarbrough sought treatment at Erie but looks to impose liability on NMH. Erie is neither owned nor operated by NMH. While Erie receives some charitable assistance from NMH, it relies heavily on federal money. Erie does not utilize the Northwestern name, Northwestern-related branding, or Northwestern’s trademark purple color. View "Yarbrough v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital" on Justia Law
In re Linda B.
On May 9, the mental health facility director at Mount Sinai Hospital filed a petition alleging that Linda was a person subject to emergency involuntary admission to a treatment facility (405 ILCS 5/3-600) and had been admitted to the “Mental Health Facility/Psychiatric Unit” on April 22. On June 11, the court held a hearing; a psychiatrist testified that Linda’s hospitalization began on April 22, when she was admitted to a “medical floor,” where she was also “treated psychiatrically.” She was tachycardic and severely anemic. Linda had sitters throughout her stay on the medical floor. There had been multiple prior hospitalizations. Linda had been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and was noncompliant in taking medications. Linda’s counsel moved to dismiss the petition as untimely, having been filed more than 24 hours after admission. The court found Linda subject to involuntary admission. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court applied the public interest exception to the mootness doctrine and affirmed, finding Linda’s “physical” admission was not synonymous with “legal” admission under the Mental Health Code, and the medical floor of the hospital was not a “mental health facility” within the meaning of the statute, regardless of whether psychiatric treatment was rendered there. Legal status may change while one is in a mental health facility. Linda has not demonstrated that her physical entry into the facility, and her initial treatment, were involuntary. View "In re Linda B." on Justia Law
Manago v. County of Cook
Manago was 12 years old when he was treated at Cook County’s Stroger Hospital in 2005 for injuries sustained while he was “surfing” on the roof of an elevator owned and operated by the Chicago Housing Authority. His mother’s complaint sought damages for personal injuries and included an allegation that his mother, Pritchett, had “expended and incurred obligations for medical expenses and care and will in the future expend and incur such further obligations” but did not include a claim for those expenses. The County filed a notice of lien under 770 ILCS 23/1 on behalf of the hospital for Manago’s unpaid medical bills, totaling $79,572.53. Manago turned 18; the complaint was amended accordingly. The court declined to award medical expenses, citing Pritchett’s failure to prove she was obliged to pay the hospital bill. The plaintiff was awarded $250,000 for scarring, $75,000 for pain and suffering, and $75,000 for loss of normal life. His award was reduced to $200,000 because Manago was found 50% responsible. On Manago’s motion, the trial court extinguished the hospital’s lien. The appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. Nothing in the Lien Act precludes a lien from attaching to a damage award recovered by or on behalf of a minor or limits the lien’s potential funding sources to sums earmarked for medical expenses. View "Manago v. County of Cook" on Justia Law
In re Linda B.
On May 9, the Hospital's mental health facility director filed a petition seeking emergency inpatient admission of Linda under 405 ILCS 5/3-600, stating that Linda was admitted on April 22. Section 3-611 provides: “Within 24 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the respondent’s admission ... the facility director … shall file 2 copies of the petition ... with the court … the court shall set a hearing to be held within 5 days … after receipt of the petition. On June 11, the court held a hearing. Testimony focused on the fact that Linda had been admitted to a medical unit with medical problems but, while there, received psychiatric care. The court granted the petition. The appellate court first noted that Linda’s 90-day hospitalization had ended, rendering the appeal moot, but applied the public interest exception to mootness. The court determined that Linda’s “physical” admission to the hospital was not synonymous with “legal” admission and the medical floor, arguably, was not a “mental health facility” under the statute, so the petition was timely. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The court disagreed with the distinction drawn between the medical floor and the mental health unit but reasoned that legal status may change while one is in a mental health facility. Linda did not demonstrate that her physical entry into the facility and her initial treatment were involuntary and, therefore, did not establish that the petition was not timely. View "In re Linda B." on Justia Law