Statement

October 3, 2011

STATEMENT FROM STANFORD HOSPITAL & CLINICS
  
“Stanford Hospital & Clinics (SHC) understands that a purported class action lawsuit was filed against it and Multi-Specialty Collection Services, LLC (MSCS), an outside vendor that caused some confidential information about patients who visited Stanford Hospital’s emergency room to be posted on a website. SHC intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit that has been filed as it acted appropriately and did not violate the law as claimed in the lawsuit.

SHC takes very seriously its obligation to treat its patient information as private and confidential.  As soon as this was brought to SHC’s attention by a patient, the hospital demanded and had the spreadsheet taken down from the website and backup servers.  SHC quickly notified the affected patients of this breach and offered to provide free identity protection services to all the patients, even though the information disclosed on the website is not the type used for identity theft.  To date there is no evidence that anyone saw this information on the website and improperly used it for fraudulent or any other improper purpose.  SHC has investigated this matter, terminated its relationship with MSCS, and reported this breach to law enforcement authorities.  

MSCS is a California company that provided business and financial support to SHC and was operating under a contract with SHC that specifically required it to protect the privacy of the patient information sent to it and that prohibited unauthorized disclosure of that information.  SHC properly sent the data to MSCS in an encrypted format to protect its confidentiality.  SHC’s investigation of this regrettable incident has determined that MSCS then prepared an electronic spreadsheet from that data that had the names, addresses and diagnosis codes of almost 20,000 patients.  Unfortunately, MSCS improperly sent the spreadsheet it had created to a third person who was not authorized to have that information and who improperly posted it on a website, apparently to get assistance in generating a graph from MSCS’s spreadsheet.  This mishandling of private patient information was in complete contravention of the law and of the requirements of MSCS’s contract with SHC and is shockingly irresponsible.
 
SHC regrets that its patients’ confidentiality was breached and is committed to protecting the health and privacy of all of its patients.”


About Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Stanford Hospital & Clinics is known worldwide for advanced treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. It is currently ranked in the top 20 on the U.S. News & World Report’s "America's Best Hospitals" list and No. 1 in the San Jose Metropolitan area.  Stanford Hospital & Clinics is internationally recognized for translating medical breakthroughs into the care of patients.  The Stanford University Medical Center is comprised of three world renowned institutions: Stanford Hospital & Clinics, the Stanford University School of Medicine, the oldest medical school in the Western United States, and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, an adjacent pediatric and obstetric teaching hospital providing general acute and tertiary care. For more information, visit http://stanfordhospital.org/.

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