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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Major California Medical Record Privacy Breach Disclosed

The lack privacy of medical records in workers' compensation claims has perpetually been a huge concern for workers since Congress ignored requests to protect their dissemination. A recent disclosure in California that the medical records of 300,000 injured workers were available online to the public through a mere Google search further demonstrates that the system is failing workers.

"Identity Finder, LLC (www.identityfinder.com), a global leader in identity theft prevention and data loss protection (DLP), discovered that a website exposed documents containing hundreds of individuals health information and database files containing approximately 300,000 names and social security numbers of California residents who applied for workers' compensation benefits. Identity Finder notified the websites owners, Southern California Medical-Legal Consultants, Inc. (SCMLC), of the breach on May 11, 2011 and SCMLC restricted access to all files within minutes of notification."

Over the last two decades the erosion of the privacy of injured workers medical records has continued unabated. Workers who are injured on the job should not have their medical records published without restriction or limitation. Injured workers should not be subject to public humiliation and embarrassment through disclosure of their medical records. It is time for Congress to revisit the issue.