Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 5. Uniform Health Care Information

Method Of Compulsory Process

50-16-536. Method of compulsory process. (1) Unless the court for good cause shown determines that the notification should be waived or modified, if health care information is sought under 50-16-535(1)(b), (1)(d), or (1)(e) or in a civil proceeding or investigation under 50-16-535(1)(j), the person seeking discovery or compulsory process shall mail a notice by first-class mail to the patient or the patient's attorney of record of the compulsory process or discovery request at least 10 days before presenting the certificate required under subsection (2) of this section to the health care provider.

(2) Service of compulsory process or discovery requests upon a health care provider must be accompanied by a written certification, signed by the person seeking to obtain health care information or by the person's authorized representative, identifying at least one subsection of 50-16-535 under which compulsory process or discovery is being sought. The certification must also state, in the case of information sought under 50-16-535(1)(b), (1)(d), or (1)(e) or in a civil proceeding under 50-16-535(1)(j), that the requirements of subsection (1) of this section for notice have been met. A person may sign the certification only if the person reasonably believes that the subsection of 50-16-535 identified in the certification provides an appropriate basis for the use of discovery or compulsory process. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the health care provider shall maintain a copy of the process and the written certification as a permanent part of the patient's health care information.

(3) In response to service of compulsory process or discovery requests, when authorized by law, a health care provider may deny access to the requested health care information. Additionally, a health care provider may deny access to the requested health care information under 50-16-542(1). If access to requested health care information is denied by the health care provider under 50-16-542(1), the health care provider shall submit to the court by affidavit or other reasonable means an explanation of why the health care provider believes the information should be protected from disclosure.

(4) When access to health care information is denied under 50-16-542(1), the court may order disclosure of health care information, with or without restrictions as to its use, as the court considers necessary. In deciding whether to order disclosure, the court shall consider the explanation submitted by the health care provider, the reasons for denying access to health care information set forth in 50-16-542(1), and any arguments presented by interested parties.

(5) A health care provider required to disclose health care information pursuant to compulsory process may charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed the fee provided for in 50-16-540, and may deny examination or copying of the information until the fee is paid.

(6) Production of health care information under 50-16-535 and this section does not in itself constitute a waiver of any privilege, objection, or defense existing under other law or rule of evidence or procedure.

History: En. Sec. 12, Ch. 632, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 657, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 44, Ch. 16, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 300, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 25, Ch. 504, L. 2003.