Class Claims Atlanta Doctor Disclosed HIV Status

Courtney Walters reports that a lawsuit has been filed against a doctor in Atlanta, George for disclosing 379 patients’ names and HIV status:

Lead plaintiff John Doe sued Pride Medical Services, three doctor/owners, a pharmacist and another part-owner of the clinic, in Fulton County State Court.

Read more about the case on Courthouse News.  According to Walters, the complaint does not offer any explanation or hypothesis as to why Dr. Lee R. Anisman would have sent a spreadsheet with patients’ names and HIV status to a gay magazine in Atlanta, but the complaint alleges that the unnamed magazine never requested it and that patient information was sent via the doctor’s AOL account on two separate occasions.

Because the alleged unauthorized disclosures each involved less than 500 people, this is not an incident that we would see on HHS’s public breach tool.  If the lead plaintiff filed a complaint with HHS, however (or if the clinic self-reported a breach), they would likely investigate this.  Walters reports the lawsuit seeks class action status and

punitive damages for violation of medical privacy laws, invasion of privacy, breach of confidential relationship and fiduciary duty, negligence, gross negligence, wrongful disclosure of privileged information, and breach of contract.

A notice on Pride Medical’s website says:

**************NOTICE *****************
If you have any questions or comments about the letter you may have received from Pride Medical regarding a privacy issue, please call 877-251-9618.

No one was available for comment at the time of this posting, but PHIprivacy.net has sent Pride Medical an inquiry about the lawsuit and alleged breach and will update this post if or when more information becomes available.

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