Doctor Shopping Records Tossed

Drug Records Thrown Out
Drug Charge Defense Attorney has been researching use of medical records by police in doctor shopping cases. One court just ruled the doctor's records were inadmissible in evidence. "The state charged [the defendant] with oxycodone trafficking, contrary to subsection 893.135(1)(c)1.a., Florida Statutes (2009), and withholding information from a practitioner, which is prohibited by subsection 893.13(7)(a)8., Florida Statutes (2009). Subsection 893.13(7)(a)8. proscribes the withholding of information from a practitioner to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance, when the person has obtained the same or a similar prescription from another practitioner within the past thirty days. This practice is known as doctor-shopping."

 Doctor Shopping Charges? Call me Toll Free to Discuss 1-877-793-9290.

The trial judge granted the defendant's motion to suppress as to the patient contracts and doctors’ statements. The defense "argued [the detective] violated section 456.057, Florida Statutes (2009), which provides for the confidentiality of medical records and information and sets forth those circumstances that allow law enforcement to obtain them. Second, he contended that [the detective’s] taking of the items violated his right to privacy under Article I, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution. Finally, [the defendant] asserted the seizure was illegal under Article I, Section 12 of the Florida Constitution."

"To obtain medical records, the statute requires law enforcement to obtain a subpoena after notice to the patient."  The court held, "we hold that the patient contracts that [the detective] obtained from [the defendant's] doctors were medical records protected by subsection 457.057(7)(a)."

The court then turned to statements made by the doctor: "the statute creates only four exceptions that allow doctors to break the privileged relationship and disclose confidential information:

(1) to other health care providers involved in the care and treatment of the patient; 

(2) if permitted by written authorization from the patient; 

(3) if compelled by subpoena; and 

(4) to attorneys, experts, and other individuals necessary to defend the physician in a medical negligence action in which the physician is or expects to be a defendant. No other disclosures are statutorily permitted . . . ."

However, the court also ruled Florida State "893.07(4), Florida Statutes (2009), empowered [the detective] to obtain the pharmacy records without a warrant or subpoena . . . ."

The court then concluded: "Suppression is the only remedy to sanction this police misconduct and deter similar misconduct. The danger of the law enforcement practices in this case are amply demonstrated by the willingness of medical professionals to surrender private medical records and engage in discussions regarding private and privileged communications concerning their treatment of individuals on the mere naked display of authority by law enforcement."


Doctor Shopping Charges? Call me Toll Free to Discuss 1-877-793-9290.

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