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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stanford Hospital & Clinics vows to fight $20M class action

By Jason Green

Stanford Hospital & Clinics vowed Monday to "vigorously defend" itself against a $20-million class-action complaint filed in the wake of a data breach that saw the medical records of 20,000 patients posted on a commercial website for nearly a year.

Shana Springer filed the complaint on Sept. 28 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, on behalf of fellow patients treated in Stanford's emergency room between March 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2009. She is seeking $1,000 per patient, as well as other penalties, damages and attorneys fees.

The nine-page complaint alleges the hospital violated the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, a state law that requires medical providers to safeguard patient information and prohibits its disclosure without written consent.

"On its website, Stanford claims that its patients' 'health care experience is [its] highest priority.' Thus, it should be no surprise that when patients are treated at Stanford's facilities, they expect that their private medical information will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone without their authorization," the complaint states.

In a brief statement released Monday, Stanford placed the blame on complaint codefendant Multi-Specialty Collection Services LLC, saying it was the subcontractor that mishandled the data. The hospital has since cut ties with the Woodland Hills-based company, which provided collection and billing services.

The entire story can be read here.