Palo Verde Hospital warns patients of HIPAA violations

The Palo Verde Valley Times staff reports:

Palo Verde Hospital administrators released a statement Wednesday which concerns possible HIPAA violations. Hospital administrators released the statement, in addition to, mailing letters to patients.

Palo Verde Healthcare District (PVHD) recently became aware of a breach of protected health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) and is currently in the process of notifying the affected individuals and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding this breach.

According to PVHD CEO Sandra Anaya PVHD is not clear on how the breach occurred, but PVHD first became aware of the matter in late December 2013, when documents were produced to PVHD’s legal counsel by the attorneys for former administrators Peter Klune, Tara Barth, and Dennis Rutherford. Klune, Barth, and Rutherford are plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit filed against PVHD in July 2013.

“The lawsuit relates to the end of the plaintiffs’ employment as PVHD administrators. The patient-related documents were produced as evidence by the attorneys for the former administrators in the lawsuit,” said Anaya. “It appears that most of the health information taken by the former administrators is from the approximate time period of 2010-2012.”

Read more on the Palo Verde Valley Times.

I wonder what CDPH will do about the delayed notification of patients. The district discovered the breach in December but first sent out letters this week? That’s a long gap for California.

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