Local Alabama Hospital Wants to Settle Data Breach Lawsuit

Local Alabama Hospital Wants to Settle Data Breach Lawsuit

The data breach at Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama finally nears the end after a four-year long nightmare. While there has been no final court approval, the hospital has decided to settle with the 1,200 victims whose information was breached. Each person will receive roughly $5,000 and Flowers Hospital has said payments won't total more than $150,000.

What Happened?

A lab technician at Flower Hospital stole PHI records to use in a tax fraud and identity theft scheme. From June 2013 to February 2014, this employee stole more than 1,200 patients records that included information like patient names, addresses, dates of birth and health plan policy numbers.

How Did Flowers Hospital Become Liable?

The lawsuit states that the hospital didn't safeguard the paper records leaving them exposed to employees and other third parties. It all comes down to HIPAA compliance. They didn't have a proper program in place to prevent the records from being stolen.

How Is This Breach Different?

  • The source of the breach was an employee instead of a hacker.
  • The breach could've been avoided if an appropriate HIPAA program were in place.
  • The financial losses are not from an OCR fine, but instead are from the lawsuit.

This is a clear example of how data breaches cannot be swept under the rug as it has been going on for 4 years and is just now reaching the end.

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RESOURCES: 

HIPAA Journal

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