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Patients sue Dorn VA medical center for health data breach

By Patrick Ouellette

- The other shoe has dropped following April’s William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA medical center data breach.

The VA medical center had notified 7405 veteran patients in early April that an unprotected laptop with their personal information on the device had been stolen in February and now the organization faces a federal lawsuit for the potential patient damages. Patient names, birth dates, weight, race, respiratory test results and partial Social Security numbers (last four digits) were all included on the pulmonary testing lab laptop, which still has yet to be found.

The suit was filed, according to thestate.com, at the U.S. District Court in Columbia and focuses on the harm that can be done to the veterans as a result of potential identity theft and medical insurance abuse. The suit argues that the VA failed to implement even the most rudimentary of technical safeguards. How the suit plays out will be interesting because it’s not very often a government organization is facing civil and potential Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) penalties.

“These vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve better,” said plaintiff attorney Michael Kelly, according to thestate.com. Richard Beck and Lakreshia Jeffery, Dorn patients, have been identified as the plaintiffs. If you didn’t see it back in April, here’s the letter that Dorn sent to its patients after the incident.

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