The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled there is no private right of action for violations of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).  To this point, every federal district court that has decided the issue has also ruled no private right of action exists.  No other federal circuit court has decided the issue.

A woman had sued filed suit against a doctor for disclosing medical information without her consent.  The Court based its decision on the fact that HIPAA provides both civil and criminal penalties for improper disclosure of medical information and limits enforcement to the Department of Health and Human Services.  The Court ruled that since HIPAA specifically delegates enforcement, there is a strong indication that Congress intended to preclude private enforcement.

Read the opinion.