Dr. William may also partially answer to the charges against him and partially demur to the complaint.
"364.(a) No action based upon the health care provider's professional negligence may be commenced unless the defendant has been given at least 90 days' prior notice of the intention to commence the action."
A subpoena refers to the process whereby a person is asked to appear in the court to testify in a case as a witness. Sections 1985 to 1997 of the California Code of Civil Procedures provide details on the conduct and types of subpoena.
The person may be asked to personally present in the court to testify (depending upon the contents of subpoena) and provide expert opinion on a process in which he has expertise in; or he/ she may be asked to bring a book, record or any other form of document as evidences.
In responding to a subpoena, the obligations may include producing personal record (if these are in possession) for Joan's treatment at the clinic; and providing professional opinion as to the sequence of events, conduct of professional expertise by Dr. Williams, etc.
If a person provides false reports and testifies incorrectly, it may result in court taking actions against the subpoenaed (the person who is issued a subpoena). Thus, there is obligation to truthfully and accurately provide all required information to the court.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was developed to protect 'individually identifiable health information' in any form. The term individually identifiable health information is defined by the Act as:
the individual's past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
the provision of health care to the individual, or
the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual,
and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009).
As appears from the case, Dr. Williams showed Joan's medical records to his friend and thus showed him the provision of health care to Joan. This is in violation of HIPAA. As per the Act, he was not supposed to share this information with anyone