Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita filed a lawsuit against Indiana University (IU) Health on Sept. 15 for allegedly violating patient privacy laws of a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from another state to get an abortion.
The to-year-old’s abortion was first made public by IU’s Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who had performed the procedure for the minor in 2022 and spoke with the Indianapolis Star, a local media outlet, about the incident. Bernard was later fined $3,000 by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board in May for violating patient privacy, but Rokita alleges that the hospital system failed to properly “report, review and enforce” privacy laws after it defended Bernard for telling the story to the media, according to the lawsuit. (RELATED: Planned Parenthood Will Resume Abortions In Wisconsin After Court Ruling)
“We will continue to uphold and protect Hoosier patients’ medical privacy,” Rokita said, according to a press release. “Trust is the foundation of the patient-doctor relationship. Without trust, we don’t have reliable, honest healthcare.”
Today, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the people of Indiana against IU Health and IU Healthcare Associates for their failure to properly report, review, and enforce HIPAA and Indiana law violations. Watch: pic.twitter.com/RCEAPprcAx
— AG Todd Rokita (@AGToddRokita) September 15, 2023
A spokesperson for IU Health told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the hospital hold themselves “accountable every day for providing quality healthcare and securing privacy for our patients.”
“We continue to be disappointed the Indiana Attorney General’s office persists in putting the state’s limited resources toward this matter,” the spokesperson said. “We will respond directly to the AG’s office on the filing.”
The lawsuit alleges that by going out of its way to publicly contradict the “Medical Licensing Board and contending the doctor’s actions were ‘”in compliance with privacy laws,'” IU Health has made it difficult for its other employees to know how to properly comply with HIPAA and the Indiana Patient Confidentiality rule.
“Doctors and all health care professionals should be able to rely on their employers and patients should be able to trust their doctors,” Rokita said in a press release. “When a hospital or other healthcare provider makes your private medical information public, that trust is decimated. As a result, the quality, delivery, and sustainability of our healthcare is significantly weakened.”
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