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Public Health Information Management, Privacy & Security

Grafilo v. Soorani

Overview

Grafilo v. Soorani (California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, Oct. 2, 2019): The California Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s order compelling a psychiatrist to produce 6 patient medical records to the state medical board as part of its investigation into whether he was overprescribing controlled substances. The board had issued a subpoena for the records, but the psychiatrist refused to comply, asserting psychotherapist-patient privilege and the right to privacy under the California Constitution art. I, § 1. The appellate court held that to overcome a psychiatric patient’s constitutional right to privacy, the board must demonstrate a compelling interest in the records and show good cause. It rejected the psychiatrist’s arguments that the board had not made the required good cause showing. The court concluded that: (1) the board established the absence of less intrusive means, including only requesting the records that supported the psychiatrist’s rationale for writing the contested prescriptions; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in relying on the declaration of the state’s medical consultant; and (3) the medical consultant’s detailed report provided support for the trial court’s finding of sufficient evidence of good cause. Read the decision here.

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