Contra Costa County warns of patient privacy breach

Contra Costa County officials mailed out notices Friday warning that the names of residents who owed money to the county health department were inadvertently published in a public document, violating patient privacy.

The names were published in a report to the Board of Supervisors dated July 27, 2010. It was generated by the County’s Office of Revenue Collection, a department which has since been dissolved because of budget cuts, officials said.

It was only last week, however, that the county discovered that the report included patient names. While no medical information was released, the report constitutes a breach of patient confidentiality laws.

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