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California county cops to publishing names of deadbeat patients

07 December 2011

California’s Contra Costa County has informed around 4,700 residents that confidential information about debts they owed to the Health Services Department was posted online.

The confidential information was contained in an online report to the Board of Supervisors, the county said in a statement.

No medical information was contained in the report, but the posting of names of people who received services from the Health Services Department is a violation of the state’s health information confidentiality laws, the statement said.

The county said it removed patients’ names from the report, mailed letters on Dec. 2 to the affected residents, and notified the California Department of Public Health of the breach.

The report was produced by the county’s former Office of Revenue Collection, which collected delinquent payments for various county departments until the office was dissolved a year ago due to budget cuts. That responsibility now rests with each department.

“The purpose of the report was to allow the Board of Supervisors to authorize the discharge of accountability for certain health services accounts that were deemed uncollectible for a variety of reasons. The board order with the report remains a public document that can be viewed online, but the patient names have been redacted”, the statement explained.

This article is featured in:
Compliance and Policy  •  Data Loss  •  Internet and Network Security  •  Public Sector


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