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Recent news reports disclosed a major data breach at Beaumont Hospital in Detroit, Mich. Formerly known as Oakwood Hospital, it became part of the Beaumont Health System in 2014.
A Beaumont Health employee is suspected of disclosing sensitive patient information of nearly 1,200 people, the health system said in a statement in late January.
The employee, who has since been terminated, reportedly transferred information including names, addresses, dates of birth, contact information, social security numbers, reasons for treatment and insurance information to an individual working on behalf of a personal injury attorney.
The hospital has been in Dearborn since 1953 and provides medical treatment in a wide range of specialties.
What is a Data Breach?
A data breach usually occurs when there is an unauthorized entry point into a corporation’s database. This includes cyber hackers and other criminals.
Other data breaches occur when a person has authorized access into a computer system but “steals” the data for an unauthorized purpose. This can be an “inside job,” like an employee gaining access and providing it to a third party for an illegal or unauthorized use.
How Did the Beaumont Hospital Data Breach Occur?
The likely purpose was for the law firm to solicit patients injured in accidents for potential clients. The employee’s conduct was criminal and the law firm’s actions may have violated criminal laws as well.
The hospital was unaware of the data breach until it was notified by the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. The agency learned of this breach while investigating a grievance complaint against a Michigan lawyer.
It is believed the employee started gathering the information from February 2017 until October 2019.
What Information was Compromised?
Reports indicate that personal information was collected on approximately 1,100 patients and distributed by the employee. The date purportedly included the following personal and private patient information:
- Credit card numbers
- Social security numbers
- Banking information
- Driver’s license records
- Medical records
- Other sensitive personal information
How Does a Hospital Data Breach Affect Patients?
Medical and financial data are very private and cannot be distributed to third persons without the permission of the patient. Financial information in the wrong hands can cause identify theft and issues involving credit problems.
Medical information about a patient contains highly personal information about illnesses, family issues, and diagnosis that can affect a person’s employment and personal relationships. This can create serious problems for any patient whose confidential information was exposed to an unintended person or business.
Can Data Breach Victims Sue Beaumont Hospital for Damages?
While the Beaumont data breach is still under investigation by the police, there have been several successful hospital data breach lawsuits in recent years. These were filed as class action lawsuits on behalf of all patients who had their personal information stolen and given to a third party.
In 2019, Banner Health based in Phoenix, Ariz. agreed to pay a $6 million settlement in a data breach lawsuit. In that case, numerous class action lawsuits were brought against the health system due to an unauthorized third-party gaining access and viewing patient information?
What You Can Do If You Were a Victim of the Beaumont Data Breach
If you learned from the hospital that your personal information was taken from the hospital computer system as part of the data breach, you may have a claim for damages.
In addition to stress and an invasion of your privacy, you may be facing the need to clear up your name. You may also need to pay to have your credit cleaned up and to change all of your financial accounts to prevent future fraud.
Contact Our Hospital Data Breach Lawyers
To find out if you have legal rights for having your personal data stolen, contact our experienced attorneys today.
You may have the legal right to compensation or to join a possible class action lawsuit.
We charge no legal fees unless you receive a settlement. Call now to get started!
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