09/22/2011 // San Francisco , CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Bay area consumer protection lawyer Jeffrey Keller
San Francisco, CA (Bay Area Consumer Protection Lawyer News) — The personal information of 20,000 emergency room patients at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto has been compromised after the sensitive information was posted online for nearly a year, reports Jeffrey Keller, a Bay area consumer protection lawyer at Keller Grover LLP. The medical privacy breach was reported to the hospital by a patient on August 22, 2011, who found the information on a commercial website.
According to information provided by The New York Times, the medical privacy breach began on Sept. 9, 2010 when the detailed spreadsheet somehow made its way from a hospital vendor, identified as Multi-Specialty Collection Services, to a website called Student of Fortune, where students can solicit paid assistance with their schoolwork. The website says they were unaware that the pertinent data had been posted until they were notified by the hospital.
While the medical information spreadsheet did not include Social Security numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers or other sensitive information that could be used in identity theft; it did reveal the names, diagnosis codes, account numbers, admission and discharge dates and billing codes for Stanford’s emergency room patients during a six-month period in 2009, says the San Francisco consumer protection attorney, Jeffrey Keller.
Upon the discovery of the medical privacy breach, Stanford Hospital reportedly took “aggressive steps” towards the matter, and Student of Fortune removed the spreadsheet the next day. As required by federal regulations, Stanford notified state and federal agencies of the privacy issue.
This isn’t the first medical information leak to occur in California within the last year, explains Keller, a Bay area consumer protection attorney. Health Net, one of the nation’s largest managed care providers, experienced a privacy breach that jeopardized the personal information of nearly 2 million customers, employees and healthcare providers.
Not only was Health Net under scrutiny for the information leak, they are also in hot water for failing to quickly disclose that the nine computer drives that contained the sensitive information were missing. Furthermore, this wasn’t the first security issue Health Net had experienced. In May 2009, a computer disk that contained the protected health and other private information of more than 500,000 Connecticut residents and 1.5 million consumers nationwide was lost, as previously reported by Keller Grover LLP in “California Consumer Protection Lawyer: Health Net Under Fire for Security Breach.”
Medical information leaks have been an ongoing problem for Americans. Across the nation, over 11 million people’s personal information has been improperly exposed during the last two years alone, according to the Department of Health and Human Services records.
In addition, since the passing of the stimulus package, which mandates the prompt reporting of breaches, there have been 306 cases from September 2009 to June 2011, which affected at least 500 people each. Thirty thousand smaller breaches from September 2009 to December 2010 also affected over 72,000 people, the New York Times revealed.
While the investigation into Stanford Hospital’s information leak is under investigation by the hospital and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, free identity protection services are being provided by Stanford Hospital for all the affected patients.
Stanford Hospital has since suspended its relationship with the contractor.
This news story was provided to you by Keller Grover LLP, the California consumer protection attorney. If you or someone you love has been a victim of fraudulent, unfair, or deceptive marketplace practices, contacting a knowledgeable Bay Area consumer protection lawyer can help get the justice you deserve.
Address: 1965 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Url: San Francisco employment lawyer | Los Angeles employment attorney