Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Evidence—Abrogation of Physician Patient Privilege by Statute AHCCCS Fraud

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Feb 08, 2018 | 0 Comments

State v. Zeitner, 782 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 4 (App. Div. I, January 16, 2018) (J. Johnsen)

Defendant was convicted of defrauding the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System ("AHCCCS") by lying to a physician to obtain coverage for an abortion. She attempted to assert the physician patient privilege, A.R.S. §13-4062(4),  to block the admission into evidence of her medical records to prove the fraud.  The trial court ruled the privilege was abrogated by the AHCCCS fraud statute and therefore the medical records were admissible. The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed.

While Arizona does not have a common law fraud exception to the physician patient privilege it does have several statutory exceptions. Here  A.R.S. §36-2918.01(A) requires physicians to report suspected AHCCCS fraud.  This statute abrogates the privilege.

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".

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