NH: Patients will have chance to object to disclosure of medical records ordered by search warrant

FourthAmendment.com informs us of a case in New Hampshire where there will be greater privacy protection going forward  for medical records produced in response to a search warrant:

Search warrant for medical records, in the future, requires the record holder to produce in camera to protect doctor-patient privilege so the patient can object to the disclosure. This case was decided under the court’s supervisory powers. In re Search Warrant for Med. Records of C.T., 2010 N.H. LEXIS 39 (May 6, 2010).

From the decision:

Accordingly, we exercise our supervisory powers to provide guidance to trial courts and parties as to a uniform and fair process to be applied in future cases. … We instruct that, henceforth, any search warrant for privileged medical records shall order the hospital or medical provider to comply within a reasonable time by producing the records under seal for in camera review by the trial court. The trial court shall then determine the manner by which the patient shall be provided notice that such records were produced and shall give the patient and hospital or medical provider an opportunity to object to their disclosure. Upon objection, the State must demonstrate “essential need” for the information contained in the record, i.e., the State must prove both that the information is unavailable from another source and that there is a compelling justification for its disclosure. Cf. Payne, 150 N.H. at 442.

About the author: Dissent

Comments are closed.