Tuesday, October 4, 2011

$20 Million Lawsuit Over Patient Data Privacy Breach

A $20 million class action lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on September 28th on behalf of approximately 20,000 patients whose protected health information (PHI) was breached.

Shana Springer filed the complaint on behalf of herself and other patients treated at by San Francisco Bay Area hospital's emergency department between March 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2009
Suit alleges the hospital violated the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, a California state law requiring healthcare providers safeguard patient data privacy..
The patient data that was breached included patient names, medical records numbers, diagnosis codes, billing charges, and dates of emergency room admissions and discharges. No credit card or Social Security numbers were part of the breach.

According to the hospital there is no evidence that the information was improperly used it for fraudulent or any other improper purpose. But in at least one case, a patient's psychiatric diagnosis was made public.
"SHC intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit that has been filed as it acted appropriately and did not violate the law as claimed in the lawsuit." - Hospital spokesman.
The suit seeks compensation of $1,000 per patient, plus penalties, damages and attorneys’ fees. Los Angeles-based lawyers Brian S. Kabateck, Richard L. Kellner, Karen Liao, Byron T. Ball and Bradley I. Kramer are said to be representing the person bringing the suit, as well as, the proposed class.
Download a white paper on patient privacy audits as a service. Learn about a service that proactively identifies unauthorized breaches of patient privacy, even by nurses, doctors, and other authorized users - with no hardware and no on-site software.
(a) Statement from Stanford Hospital & Clinics - Stanford Hospital & Clinics Website, October 3, 2011
(b) Stanford Hospital & Clinics vows to fight $20M class action - MercuryNews.com, October 4, 2011

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