Hill v. East Baton Rouge Parish Department of Emergency Medical Services was a 2006 case before the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal that was ruled that recordings of 911 calls for an ambulance may not be released to the public because they are confidential communications between a patient and a health-care provider.
This case established that 911 recordings are confidential and exempt from records requests.
- On February 21, 2005 Hill, a reporter for the Gannett Newspapers submitted an open records request for all 911 calls made from the home of Secretary of State Fox McKeithen on February 17, 2005.
- On February 25, 2005, the parish denied the request claiming the documents were exempt under the Federal HIPAA legislation, which protects personal medical records.
- Hill, with the support of various press organizations, filed suit, seeking to compel the release of the documents.
- On April 22, 2005, the trial court ruled in favor of the city. Hill appealed the decision.
Ruling of the court
The trial court ruled in favor of the city, ordering the documents exempt after an in camera review. The court determined that the documents in question did contain personal medical information that was exempt under the federal HIPAA law.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court and ordered the documents sealed.
The Court of Appeals determined that the information contained in the phone records constitutes privileged communication between a health care provider and his or her patient as outlined by the Louisiana Code of Evidence. The court went on to confirm that the EMS service was in fact considered a medical provider, and that the HIPAA laws also applied. Based on these two exemptions, the court decided that the documents in question were exempt from records requests, thus ruling in favor of the parish.