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Earl Googe Publishes Article on PSQIA Protections in Meritas Healthcare Newsletter

Smith Hulsey & Busey shareholder Earl E. Googe, Jr. recently published an article in the Meritas Healthcare newsletter about a federal court decision regarding the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA).

The article, titled “An End to Limbo: Federal Court Establishes Supremacy of PSQIA over State Law in Medical Malpractice Discovery,” explores a September 2019 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. 

The decision establishes a much clearer legal situation for Florida hospitals, health systems and other healthcare providers as to when the data they collect to do the important work of improving patient safety is considered privileged and protected from discovery during litigation.

“The decision in TGH v. Azar was a tremendous victory for Florida’s hospitals and health systems. It ended the uncertainty around whether [patient safety work product] confidentiality under the PSQIA takes precedence over Amendment 7 requests, or vice-versa,” writes Googe. “While this ruling does not overrule the Charles or Edwards decisions, it should help blunt their effect. Every Florida hospital and health system attorney can and should use the decision to fight Florida Amendment 7 requests for PSWP.”

Last year, Googe submitted an amicus brief in the case on behalf of a group of health systems (AdventHealth, Ascension Health, Baptist Health, Martin Health and The Nemours Foundation) asking the court to uphold PSQIA protections for patient safety work product.

Googe is a trial lawyer working in the firm’s litigation and healthcare practice areas, particularly in medical malpractice defense. He works with a wide range of healthcare entities in a variety of other adversarial settings, including regulatory agencies, licensing boards and peer review panels. He provides experienced counsel in healthcare regulations, including licensing, technology, regulatory and insurance regulation as well as in healthcare fraud and abuse matters.

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