Kaiser Exposed 49M Private Files, Class Says

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A flash drive holding confidential medical records for almost 49,000 Kaiser patients was stolen, exposing their names, diagnosis codes and more, a class claims.
     Ginger Buck, who represents a class of affected Kaiser patients sued Kaiser Permanente International on Dec. 19 under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act. The case was filed in Los Angeles County Central District Court.
     “On or around Dec. 2013, the private medical information of all patients – including plaintiff and the class – who had treated at Kaiser Permanente had been stolen. Specifically, a computer flash drive containing the medical information of almost 49,000 patients, including the patient’s name, medical record and hospital account numbers, admission/discharge dates, diagnoses codes and billing charges, was disclosed on the public website,” the complaint states.
     Buck says she was treated at Kaiser sometime before 1998. “At the time of her visit, plaintiff provided confidential medical information to Kaiser, including her name, personal information and hospital account number. At no time during her visit did plaintiff provide written authorization that her private medical information be disclosed,” according to the complaint.
     “Plaintiff’s claims are typical of the claims of the class. Plaintiff is a member of the class she seeks to represent,” the complaint states.
     “A class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of this controversy, because plaintiff believes class members number in the tens of thousands . . . The expense and burden of individual litigation would make it impracticable or impossible for proposed class members to prosecute their claims individually,” it continues.
     Plaintiff seeks $1,000 per class member; penalties available to the class as provided by the California Civil Code; general, special and consequential damages; and interest and attorney’s fees. The class is represented by Byron T. Ball of The Ball Law Firm.

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