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Alabama Allows Informal Doctor Interviews With Protective Order

July 1, 2020, 2:00 PM

Attorneys in cases where a person’s health is at issue can informally interview that person’s treating health-care providers without his or her attorneys present, so long as they first obtain a court order regarding the disclosure of protected health information, Alabama’s top court said.

Nothing in state law or the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prohibits these “ex parte” interviews, the Alabama Supreme Court said Tuesday. But HIPAA “superimposes procedural” rules requiring attorneys to first obtain qualified protective orders from a trial court, it said.

The issue arises most often in medical malpractices cases, such as this one....

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