Health Information Management

Florida health system faces class-action HIPAA suit

HIM-HIPAA Insider, April 22, 2013

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Former hospital patient Richard Faircloth fileda class action lawsuit against hospital owner Adventist Health System/Sunbelt Inc., which operates 22 hospitals in Florida. Faircloth alleges that Adventist failed to prevent emergency room employees from selling patient information.

In addition, Faircloth claims in the suit that the $4,000 he paid for medical care included protection of his sensitive information. Since the hospital did not keep the information secure, he claims he did not receive the services for which he paid.
According to the suit, employees were able to access protected health information (PHI) with a log-in credential even when they had no reason to view the information. Log-ins were routinely shared among staff members and the log-in credentials could be used on multiple computers at the same time.
Former Adventist employee Dale Munroe was arrested last year and pleaded guilty in January. Monroe admitted to stealing patient information when he worked in registration for the emergency department at the Celebration, Fla., hospital owned by Adventist. Monroe then sold the stolen information to two chiropractors who then used it to solicit patients.



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