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Exeter Hospital Calls State Request a 'Government Overreach'

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sskennel/4526014600/">SSkennel</a>

In a press conference at Exeter Hospital today, lawyers called the state’s request for broad access to medical records a government overreach. The state continues to investigate the Hepatitis C outbreak.

In August, Exeter Hospital filed a protective order in Merrimack Superior Court. It’s seeking to block the state’s request for broad access to patient medical records.

On Tuesday, the Attorney General’s office filed a legal response, saying that during a public health investigation, those records should be made available.

But on Wednesday, lawyers for the hospital said the state is overstepping its authority, and should only have access to the minimum amount of information required for their investigation. Anything more, Exeter says, is a violation of patient privacy rights.

Scott O’Connell is with Nixon Peabody, the lawfirm representing Exeter in connection with the Hepatitis C outbreak.

"We are not allowing them to come into the facility, sit in front of a computer, and do the kind of widespread unsupervised and unrestricted review of patient records, because it is in conflict with state law."

O’Connell says that negotiations over the amount of access the state should have failed, prompting legal action.

33-year old David Kwiatkowski was charged with stealing syringes of pain medication before  reusing them on patients at Exeter, where we was employed as a medical technician. At least 32 patients have tested positive for matching strains of Hepatitis C.

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