Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fourth DCA Denies Certiorari on Attempt to Reverse Discovery Order under Amendment 7

The discussion below about Columbia Hospital Corporation of South Broward v. Fain (4D08-4578) is from Chris Morrison, who kindly allowed me to post it here.

The case arose from a petition for writ of certiorari seeking to quash a trial court order denying the defendant hospital's objections to discovery. The issue of work product was raised, but not decided as it was not ripe for review. The court rejected standard discovery objections regarding relevance, overbreadth and burdensomeness as having no bearing on a patient's right to obtain adverse medical incident records. The court rejected an argument that the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act impliedly preempted Amendment 7, drawing a distinction between the immunity provisions of the HCQIA and the removal of confidentiality for adverse medical incident reports. The court also rejected the argument that Amendment 7 works an unconstitutional impairment of contract regarding provisions in its physician contracts, as well as bylaws and staff regulations, that peer review proceedings remain confidential. The court essentially found that the impairment was not severe enough to warrant further scrutiny - it had a low constitutional hurdle to clear, and it cleared.


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