Bay Area Consumer Protection Lawyer: St Joseph Health System Leaks Patient Info

02/18/2012 // Keller Grover LLP

North Bay, CA (Bay Area Consumer Protection Lawyer News)—More than 10,000 Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Napa patients of the St. Joseph Health System have been alerted that their personal information may have been compromised after discovering that patient records may have been searchable over the Internet, reports San Francisco consumer protection lawyer Eric Grover, of Keller Grover LLP.

According to the North Bay Business Journal, over 10,000 patients of from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Petaluma Valley Hospital and Queen of the Valley in Napa were notified of the security breach on Monday, February 13, 2012.

The health system believes the data would have been available to Internet searches from early 2011 to February 2012; mostly affecting patients who received medical care from February through August 2011.

Facilities in Fullerton and Mission Viejo had also received notices of the privacy breach, which is affecting 31,800 people statewide, states San Francisco consumer protection lawyer Eric Grover.

The Oregon-based health system reported that the compromised information did not include social security numbers, addresses or financial data. However, it is believed that the leaked information likely included patients’ names and medical data, such as body mass index, smoking status, blood pressure, lab results, diagnoses, medication allergies, demographic info and advance directive status.

The security settings on the data were reportedly “incorrect,” allowing for the l security breach. The health system asserts that the files have since been secured, says Grover, a Bay Area consumer protection lawyer.

“This isn’t the first medical information privacy breach over the last year, which has seemingly become rampant in the medical community,” says Grover. “A privacy breach in October at Sutter Health and Sutter Medical Foundation, which affected over 3 million people, led to a class action lawsuit filed by an affected patient, who is being represented by Keller Grover LLP. “

A stolen computer at Sutter Medical Foundation’s Sacramento office held the personal information of over 3 million patients on non-encrypted files. The non-profit health system claims they were “still in the process” of encrypting data on their desktop computers, and had not yet secured the computer that was stolen from the office—although the process was started in 2007, as previously reported in “Consumer Protection Lawyers Keller Grover File Sutter Health Privacy Suit.”

The personal information of 20,000 emergency room patients at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto was also compromised in August 2011, after sensitive information was posted online for nearly a year. The medical privacy breach began on Sept. 9, 2010 when the detailed spreadsheet somehow made its way from a hospital vendor to a website called Student of Fortune, where students can solicit paid assistance with their schoolwork, as previously reported in “Bay Area Consumer Protection Lawyer: Stanford Hospital Patient Info Leaked on Web.”

Patients affected by the St. Joseph Health System are encouraged to call this toll-free number (877-430-5623) if they have further questions. Free identity-theft protection services are being offered as a precautionary measure.

Patients who believe their personal information is being used illegally are advised to contact their local police department and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or at 877-ID-THEFT

This news was brought to you by the Bay Area consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover LLP.

Keller Grover is an experienced consumer protection and employment law firm that has played leading roles in numerous state and federal consumer protection and antitrust cases. Keller Grover LLP is dedicated to fighting consumer fraud and helping those who have been harmed by unfair or deceptive advertising, improper financial transactions, violations of privacy or other unlawful business practices. For more information about Keller Grover and consumer protection cases, please visit www.kellergover.com.

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