AB 1671 – Makes it a Crime to Intentionally Disclose or Distribute a Recording of a Confidential Communication with a Health Care Provider without the Consent of All Parties

Category: Private Education
Date: Dec 8, 2016 12:33 PM

AB 1671 makes it a crime for a person to intentionally disclose or distribute, in any manner, in any forum, and for any purpose, the contents of the confidential communication with a health care provider that is obtained without the consent of all parties to the communication.  A “confidential communication” is defined as “any communication carried on in circumstances that may reasonably indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties” involved.  A “person” includes an individual, business association, partnership, corporation, or other legally entity, and any individual acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of any government or political subdivision, whether federal, state or local.  A “health care provider” is defined to include:

  1. Any person licensed or certified by the Medical Board of California, Dental Board of California or California State Board of Pharmacy;
  2. Any person licensed pursuant to the Osteopathic Initiative Act or the Chiropractic Initiative Act;
  3. Any person certified under specified EMT programs;
  4. A clinic, health dispensary, or health facility licensed or exempt from licensure as specified in Section 1200, et seq. of the Health and Safety Code;
  5. An employee, volunteer, or contracted agency of any group practice, as specified;
  6. An employee, volunteer, independent contractor, or professional student of a clinic, health dispensary, or health care facility or health care provider; and
  7. A professional organization that represents any other health care providers. 

AB 1671 does not apply to recordings made by specified peace officers or other law enforcement personnel.  The bill also does not apply to authorized persons lawfully using or operating body-worn cameras.

Finally, these provisions do not affect the admissibility of any evidence that would otherwise be admissible pursuant to Penal Code sections 633 through 633.8. 

AB 1671 is intended to address a growing concern over the dissemination of confidential recordings between individuals and their health care providers on the internet and through other public means and to clarify the criminal penalties for such actions.  As applied to employers, it provides a good reminder to make sure and safeguard any recordings between individuals and health care providers.  This is especially important for those employers who directly employ health care providers and have other employees who may access any confidential recordings with their patients.  A person who makes such a record may be subject to criminal liability, including imprisonment and monetary fines.

(AB 1671 amends Sections 632, 633.5, and 637.2 of, and adds Section 632.01 to, the Penal Code.)

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