Florida “Patient’s Right to Know” Act Pre-Empted

Medical Malpractice

Amendment 7 of the Florida Constitution was held to be pre-empted by the federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (PSQIA) in Southern Baptist Hospital of Florida, Inc. v. Charles, 178 So. 3d 102 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015). This case started out as a medical malpractice case by Mr. Charles on behalf of his sister who suffered a catastrophic neurological injury allegedly due to the hospital’s negligence.

During discovery, the plaintiffs sought information regarding prior adverse medical incidents that related to any physician who worked for the hospital during the preceding three year period. The hospital produced some documents but defended by claiming that a majority of the information sought was privileged and confidential under the PSQIA.

The First DCA upheld the objection to producing the requested information because the PSQIA clearly pre-empts Amendment 7. The dispute in this case centered around whether patient safety evaluation systems (PSE) data that is produced for the purpose of reporting to the is privileged.

The First DCA recognized that some might suggest that such data might encourage healthcare providers to thwart discovery by placing information regarding adverse medical incidents into PSE systems but dismissed fears of such things occurred as unlikely.

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