Friday, February 10, 2012

Not confidential in Naples, Florida: insurance companies leaking confidential information?

Sometimes courts (in New Jersey) rely on rather superficial assertions that a party will maintain confidential information confidential. In reality, confidential information can be handled carelessly, and the genie, once let loose, cannot be put back in the bottle.

A recent story out of Naples, Florida from WINK News illustrates how confidential information can be leaked, repeatedly:

NAPLES, Fla -- Confidential medical records meant for a local mental health facility end up in the hands of a Collier County couple.

Insurance companies trying to contact the David Lawrence Center in Naples are sending patient information to a home fax machine in Lely.

The couple tells WINK News this has been happening since they got their new phone line three years ago. They called David Lawrence and the faxes stopped for awhile. But, since the first of this month, they have once again started receiving dozens of faxes with private patient information.

"The information was so personal that is was an egregious offense to their privacy," says Deborah Foley.

Within the past 10 days, Foley and Paul Lietz have received more than a dozen faxes from insurance companies all over the country.

"We have access to the medication they're on, the name of their insurance company, the number of their insurance policy, sometimes their social security number," says Foley.

Lietz immediately called the mental health and rehab facility to explain the mistake. Foley tells WINK News, "nothing changed. The faxes continued coming in."

When WINK News called the David Lawrence Center we were sent the following statement: "We determined the faxes are not being generated by the David Lawrence Center and this is not our breach of confidentiality, however we are taking every step necessary to resolve the problem with the senders."


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