Hospital being sued over stolen medical records

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Providence Health System based in Oregon now faces charges that it was negligent in securing patient files when some 365,000 medical records were taken when a hospital employee's car - which contained the files - was stolen. Portland, Ore. resistant Laurie Paul filed a suit earlier this week to force the health system to coordinate and fund credit monitoring and credit repair for each individual with stolen files, The Oregonian reports.
    
Currently there is just one class-action lawsuit, but it is possible that other patients will join. Or, it's possible that each patient will file separate lawsuits.
    
The theft which was first reported on Dec. 31, 2005, involved the records of patients who received healthcare through Providence Home Services, and represents individuals who live predominantly in Oregon, but also in Washington, with a small portion of patients in other states, according to a released statement from Providence Health System.
     
The files were in the car as part of a nightly process intended to guarantee access to critical information in case of an emergency at the primary offices. The duplicate data sources were taken home by designated employees. After the theft, Providence immediately made changes to further secure the data, the hospitals said.
    
The theft of the records has provoked state and federal inquiries and a resurgence in privacy protections in the state.
    
A hotline also has been established by Providence to help answer questions. The number is 888-284-8997.