Judge orders vendor to return EHR data to CommonSpirit Health

A federal judge has granted Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health a temporary restraining order against a Texas healthcare data company, requiring it to return patient health information the health system had hired it to process and archive.

Emerge Clinical Solutions must also destroy any data it can't return, according to the Dec. 23 ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. 

CommonSpirit had contracted with the company in 2021 for such tasks as archiving old Allscripts EHR data and converting data from legacy systems in Kentucky to a format readable by an Epic EHR, according to the complaint filed Dec. 9.

However, the health system said it became aware of errors with the data extracts from the Kentucky project but couldn't reach any contacts at Emerge and its general phone number had been disconnected. CommonSpirit said the vendor had also stopped paying employees and contractors in September.

"At this time, we have no reason to believe any data has been subject to any unauthorized access, use or disclosure, and the majority of records entrusted to Emerge have been successfully returned," the health system said in a statement Dec. 28 to DataBreaches.net. "This incident is unrelated to the recent cyberattack experienced by CommonSpirit Health."

The news was first reported Dec. 27 by Bloomberg Law.

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