Confidentiality of Records
24-9-40. When medical information may be released by physician, hospital, health care facility, or pharmacist; immunity from liability; waiver of privilege; psychiatrists and hospitals excepted
(a) No physician licensed under Chapter 34 of Title 43 and no hospital or health care facility, including those operated by an agency or bureau of the state or other governmental unit, shall be required to release any medical information concerning a patient except to the Department of Community Health, its divisions, agents, or successors when required in the administration of public health programs pursuant to Code Section 31-12-2 and where authorized or required by law, statute, or lawful regulation; or on written authorization or other waiver by the patient, or by his or her parents or duly appointed guardian ad litem in the case of a minor, or on appropriate court order or subpoena; provided, however, that any physician, hospital, or health care facility releasing information under written authorization or other waiver by the patient, or by his or her parents or guardian ad litem in the case of a minor, or pursuant to law, statute, or lawful regulation, or under court order or subpoena shall not be liable to the patient or any other person; provided, further, that the privilege shall be waived to the extent that the patient places his care and treatment or the nature and extent of his injuries at issue in any civil or criminal proceeding. This Code section shall not apply to psychiatrists or to hospitals in which the patient is being or has been treated solely for mental illness.
(b) No pharmacist licensed under Chapter 4 of Title 26 shall be required to release any medical information concerning a patient except on written authorization or other waiver by the patient, or by his or her parents or duly appointed guardian ad litem in the case of a minor, or upon appropriate court order or subpoena; provided, however, that any pharmacist releasing information under written authorization or other waiver by the patient, or by his or her parents or duly appointed guardian ad litem in the case of a minor, or upon appropriate court order or subpoena shall not be liable to the patient or any other person; provided, further, that the privilege shall be waived to the extent that the patient places his or her care and treatment or the nature and extent of his or her injuries at issue in any administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding.
HISTORY: Code 1933, § 38-418; Ga. L. 1978, p. 1657, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1077, §§ 1, 3; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1277, § 3; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1050, § 1; Ga. L. 2009, p. 453, § 1-4/HB 228. 24-9-40.1.
24-9-40.1. Confidential nature of AIDS information
AIDS confidential information as defined in Code Section 31-22-9.1 and disclosed or discovered within the patient-physician relationship shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as otherwise provided in Code Section 24-9-47.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 24-9-40.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1988, p. 1799, § 6.
24-9-41. Disclosure of medical records — Terms defined
As used in this Code section and Code Sections 24-9-42 through 24-9-45, the term:
(1) “Confidential or privileged” means the protection afforded by law from unauthorized disclosure, whether the protection is afforded by law as developed and applied by the courts, by statute or lawful regulations, or by the requirements of the Constitutions of the State of Georgia or the United States. The term “confidential or privileged” also includes protection afforded by law from compulsory process or testimony.
(2) “Disclosure” means the act of transmitting or communicating medical matter to a person who would not otherwise have access thereto.
(3) “Health care facility” means any institution or place in which health care is rendered to persons, which health care includes but is not limited to medical, psychiatric, acute, intermediate, rehabilitative, and long-term care.
(4) “Laws requiring disclosure” means laws and statutes of the State of Georgia and of the United States and lawful regulations issued by any department or agency of the State of Georgia or of the United States which require the review, analysis, or use of medical matter by persons not originally having authorized access thereto. The term “laws requiring disclosure” also includes any authorized practice of disclosure for purposes of evaluating claims for reimbursement for charges or expenses under any public or private reimbursement or insurance program.
(5) “Limited consent to disclosure” means proper authorization given by or on behalf of a person entitled to protection from disclosure of medical matter and given for a specific purpose related to such person’s health or related to such person’s application for insurance or like benefits.
(6) “Medical matter” means information respecting the medical or psychiatric condition, including without limitation the physical and the mental condition, of a natural person or persons, however recorded, obtained, or communicated.
(6.1) “Nurse” means a person authorized by license issued under Chapter 26 of Title 43 as a registered professional nurse or licensed practical nurse to practice nursing.
(7) “Physician” means any person lawfully licensed in this state to practice medicine and surgery pursuant to Chapter 34 of Title 43.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1974, p. 595, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 10, § 24; Ga. L. 2004, p. 466, § 5. 24-9-42.
24-9-42. Disclosure of medical records — Effect on confidential or privileged character thereof
The disclosure of confidential or privileged medical matter constituting all or part of a record kept by a health care facility, a nurse, or a physician, pursuant to laws requiring disclosure or pursuant to limited consent to disclosure, shall not serve to destroy or in any way abridge the confidential or privileged character thereof, except for the purpose for which such disclosure is made.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1974, p. 595, § 2; Ga. L. 1995, p. 10, § 24; Ga. L. 2004, p. 466, § 6. 24-9-44.
24-9-44. Disclosure of medical records — Immunity from liability
Any person, corporation, authority, or other legal entity acting in good faith shall be immune from liability for the transmission, receipt, or use of medical matter disclosed pursuant to laws requiring disclosure or pursuant to limited consent to disclosure.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1974, p. 595, § 4.
24-9-45. Disclosure of medical records — Use for educational purposes not precluded
Nothing in Code Sections 24-9-41 through 24-9-44 and this Code section shall be construed to prevent the customary and usual audit, discussion, and presentation of cases in connection with medical and public education.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1974, p. 595, § 5; Ga. L. 1995, p. 10, § 24.
DISCLAIMER – Some of these codes have been amended over the years, and they can be amended again by the legislature at any time. For some codes you use the version that existed at the time the malpractice occurred, but for others you use the version of the code that exists at the time you go to trial. We show you these codes for general education purposes, but you should always consult an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney before relying on these provisions.
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