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FL, federal court clash over health privacy laws

The Miami Herald, April 11, 2013
WASHINGTON -- The federally protected privacy rights of Florida nursing home patients extend beyond the grave, under a new appellate court ruling that makes it harder for surviving spouses to obtain the health records of their late loved ones. In a clash between state and federal powers, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously that a strict federal health privacy law trumps a more lenient, decades-old Florida statute that governs access to health records. The result complicates life for family members, challenges Florida legislators and cheers the state's nursing home operators, who've been caught in the middle of conflicting mandates.