A class-action lawsuit (PDF) filed following a reported data breach of 20,000 patients' medical records claims Stanford Hospital & Clinics unlawfully disclosed confidential medical information.
Stanford Hospital sued over data breach
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based health system discovered in August that medical information for 20,000 emergency room patients released to a billing and collections contractor had been publicly available online for a year.
The vendor, Multi-Specialty Collection Services, also was named in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Attempts to reach Multi-Specialty Collection Services at deadline were unsuccessful.
"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," the system said in a statement posted on its website.
The lawsuit argues the legal action should include any patients who had visited Stanford Hospital's emergency room between March 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2009, whose records appeared on the public website. The complaint was brought by Shana Springer, who sought treatment at the hospital's emergency room in August that year.
In its statement, Stanford Hospital said the billing and collections contractor improperly released the medical records to someone who posted them online. "This mishandling of private patient information was in complete contravention of the law and of the requirements of MSCS's contract with SHC and is shockingly irresponsible," according to the statement.
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