The U of M might be forced to turn over hospital records to the Department of Justice, but an Illinois judge – citing federal and state law – has blocked a similar request at Northwestern.
“A move by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to subpoena the medical records of 40 patients who received so-called partial-birth abortions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago was halted—at least temporarily—when a Chicago federal judge quashed the information request.
The ruling is the first in a series of subpoenas by the U.S. Justice Department seeking the medical records of patients from seven physicians and at least five hospitals, Crain’s sister publication Modern Healthcare has learned. Besides Northwestern, Mr. Ashcroft is seeking patient records from University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor; Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp.; Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital both of which are part of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System; and an unidentified San Francisco-area hospital.
In a 16-page decision, U.S. Chief District Judge Charles Kocoras denied the government’s request to obtain patient medical records from Northwestern, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and Illinois’ medical privacy law. … “