Healthcare providers could be liable under consumer protections law, court suggests

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A recent court case in Kansas suggests that healthcare providers are not exempt under the state's Consumer Protection Act.

A physician who is found to have engaged in deceptive acts related to patient care may be subject to liability under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, according to the Kansas Supreme Court. Aspects of the provision of patient care that qualify as "services" are covered by the state law, the court said. The court's decision reinstated claims brought by a patient who claimed a doctor misrepresented the likelihood that proposed back surgery would be successful in relieving her symptoms. The doctor claimed that consumer protections never can apply to the provision of professional medical services.

The state's Consumer Protection Act specifically excludes certain professions and transactions, such as certain insurance contracts and certain lending institutions, but medical service providers and contracts are not mentioned as an exclusion to the law.