Consumer Matters is a monthly e-newsletter prepared by The Arcia Law Firm, P.L., and is dedicated to provide you with vital information related to your health, consumer safety, and improved quality of life.  This newsletter will also provide you with recent verdict and settlement information in personal injury, medical malpractice, and other related legal matters.  Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, family and colleagues that may be interested in its content.  If you would not like to receive any future copies of our informative newsletter, you may unsubscribe below where indicated.

The new privacy regulations ensure a national floor of privacy protections for patients by limiting the ways that health plans, pharmacies, hospitals and other covered entities can use patients' personal medical information.

The regulations protect medical records and other individually identifiable health information, whether it is on paper, in computers or communicated orally. Key provisions of these new standards include:

  • Access to Medical Records. Patients generally should be able to see and obtain copies of their medical records and request corrections if they identify errors and mistakes. Health plans, doctors, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other covered entities generally should provide access these records within 30 days and may charge patients for the cost of copying and sending the records.
  • Notice of Privacy Practices. Covered health plans, doctors and other health care providers must provide a notice to their patients how they may use personal medical information and their rights under the new privacy regulation. Doctors, hospitals and other direct-care providers generally will provide the notice on the patient's first visit following the April 14, 2003, compliance date and upon request. Patients generally will be asked to sign, initial or otherwise acknowledge that they received this notice. Health plans generally must mail the notice to their enrollees by April 14 and again if the notice changes significantly. Patients also may ask covered entities to restrict the use or disclosure of their information beyond the practices included in the notice, but the covered entities would not have to agree to the changes.
  • Limits on Use of Personal Medical Information. The privacy rule sets limits on how health plans and covered providers may use individually identifiable health information. To promote the best quality care for patients, the rule does not restrict the ability of doctors, nurses and other providers to share information needed to treat their patients. In other situations, though, personal health information generally may not be used for purposes not related to health care, and covered entities may use or share only the minimum amount of protected information needed for a particular purpose. In addition, patients would have to sign a specific authorization before a covered entity could release their medical information to a life insurer, a bank, a marketing firm or another outside business for purposes not related to their health care.
  • Prohibition on Marketing. The final privacy rule sets new restrictions and limits on the use of patient information for marketing purposes. Pharmacies, health plans and other covered entities must first obtain an individual's specific authorization before disclosing their patient information for marketing. At the same time, the rule permits doctors and other covered entities to communicate freely with patients about treatment options and other health-related information, including disease-management programs.
  • Stronger State Laws. The new federal privacy standards do not affect state laws that provide additional privacy protections for patients. The confidentiality protections are cumulative; the privacy rule will set a national "floor" of privacy standards that protect all Americans, and any state law providing additional protections would continue to apply. When a state law requires a certain disclosure -- such as reporting an infectious disease outbreak to the public health authorities -- the federal privacy regulations would not preempt the state law.
  • Confidential communications. Under the privacy rule, patients can request that their doctors, health plans and other covered entities take reasonable steps to ensure that their communications with the patient are confidential. For example, a patient could ask a doctor to call his or her office rather than home, and the doctor's office should comply with that request if it can be reasonably accommodated.
  • Complaints. Consumers may file a formal complaint regarding the privacy practices of a covered health plan or provider. Such complaints can be made directly to the covered provider or health plan or to HHS' Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is charged with investigating complaints and enforcing the privacy regulation. Information about filing complaints should be included in each covered entity's notice of privacy practices. Consumers can find out more information about filing a complaint at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa or by calling (866) 627-7748.

If you have any questions related to medical privacy, feel free to contact us today

The chemical is a naturally occurring compound that gives butter its flavor and is also found in cheese and even wine, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. It's been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a flavor ingredient, but hundreds of workers have sued flavoring makers in recent years for lung damage. Popcorn lung, or bronchiolitis obliterans, results from exposure to Diacetyl, the chemical used in butter flavoring in microwave popcorn and other food products.

People affected by the toxicity of this chemical have developed shortness of breath, hardening of the lung tissue, and other serious respiratory symptoms. The damage cannot be reversed by eliminating the exposure to Diacetyl. The most serious cases of popcorn lung are life threatening and require individuals to undergo a lung transplant. There are now reports of consumers of microwave popcorn developing these symptoms.

If you or your family members have experienced serious respitory symptoms and are consumers of butter-flavored microwave popcorn, you may be a victim of Diacetyl toxicity.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are available to discuss your rights if you, a friend or loved one has been injured in an auto accident, or is the victim of medical malpractice. We also accept cases involving a slip & fall, wrongful death, product liability, business and real estate disputes.  Please call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-757-9805, email us at info@arcialawfirm.com, or visit our website www.arcialawfirm.com and complete our Free Evaluation form. 

Our Firm accepts and handles personal injury, medical malpractice and other legal matters in Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Davie, Cooper City , Ft. Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise, Coral Springs, Lauderhill, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise, Margate, Oakland Park, Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes, Hallandale, Dania, Pembroke Park, Wilton Manors, West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Miami, Coral Gables, North Miami, Aventura, Sunny Isles, Bal Harbour, Hialeah, Miami Lakes

Verdict for $9M Against Doctor that Failed to Diagnose Colon Cancer

In December 2002, the deceased patient, a 49 year old sales representative, presented to his primary care physician with serious complaints related to his digestive system.  He was referred to a gastroenterologist, the principal Defendant.  The Defendant ordered some tests, and continued seeing the patient periodically for the next 18 months.   The initial test showed markers for Stage 1 cancer, which was missed by the Defendant.  At 12 months, the Defendant met with the patient, and failed to order follow up tests despite the patient’s deteriorating condition.  At eighteen months, the deceased patient’s condition had deteriorated even further, and tests revealed stage 4 cancer.  The patient died 2 months later.  Plaintiff argued that if treatment was rendered after the first test, it would have resulted in a cure of the condition.  Defendant claimed that the patient would not have survived anyway due to pre-existing conditions. The jury found the gastroenterologist 100% responsible and awarded the deceased’s family $9M. 

This case represents poor claims handling at its finest exposing an insured physician to a substantial judgment.  Prior to trial, the Plaintiff demanded policy limits of $500,000 and Defendant offered $0. 

Either the Arcia Law Firm nor Omar Arcia represented any of the parties to this action

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This publication is intended to educate the general public about personal injury, medical malpractice, insurance, and small business issues.  It is not intended to be legal advice.  Every case is different.  The information in this newsletter may be freely copied as long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety.


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