Judge rules in favor of couple who stored patient records in garage; Kaiser vows to continue fight

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On Thursday, a California state judge denied Kaiser Permanente access to the computers and email account of the couple the healthcare group hired to store nearly 300,000 hospital files, according to a LA Times article.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold Hopp granted a win for Stephan and Liza Dean and their small document-storage firm in Indio, Calif., called Sure File Filing Systems. Kaiser filed a lawsuit against the Deans over their handling of patient information, and the Deans had their own concerns about Kaiser's patient privacy standards, citing email subject linesthat contained private patient information and a lack of password security, as FierceHealthIT reported on Monday.

Last month, the California Department of Public Health found that Kaiser had "failed to safeguard all patients' medical records" at Moreno Valley Community Hospital by giving the Deans files for seven month--all without a contract. In reaction to Thursday's ruling, a Kaiser spokesman said "the court found that Kaiser Permanente was likely to prevail on the merits of its ultimate claims against the Deans."

Kaiser says it will continue to seek access to the Dean's computers unless they get "absolute and verifiable assurances" that all protected patient information was destroyed.

Stephan Dean is willing to allow a forensic inspection to make sure no one has hacked into his computer, therefore breaching patient information--if he gets payment from Kaiser, who says it has paid the Deans enough ($500,000 so far).

For more information:
- read the latest LA Times article

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