Arkansas hospitals hit with eight lawsuits over cyberattacks

Two Arkansas health systems face a total of eight federal lawsuits over recent cyberattacks, Arkansas Business reported March 20.

Mena (Ark.) Regional Health System and Nashville, Ark.-based Howard Memorial Hospital are being sued for data breaches that affected 84,814 people in late 2021 and 53,668 patients in late 2022, respectively.

Hospitals need to be "doing a lot more when it comes to security," Los Angeles attorney Thiago Coelho, who is representing the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits, told the news outlet. "A lot of these hacks can be prevented if they use reasonable security standards, especially given how often these medical-related facilities are being targeted by hackers and the sensitive information that they have."

"When you're going to a hospital … the patients expect that that information is going to be kept extremely safe," he added.

Howard Memorial declined to comment for the story, while Mena Regional could not be reached. In a court filing, Mena Regional wrote that the plaintiffs "do not identify any specific defect in MRHS's security, procedures, or training that may have contributed to the Cyberattack."

David Holtzman, principal at data protection company HITprivacy, told Arkansas Business these lawsuits don't often succeed. "Somebody has to demonstrate an injury or very strong probability of future injury in order to get past the initial motion to dismiss, which gets you into discovery, which is the point at which many of these cases are being settled," he said.

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