Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council sues IT vendor for breach of contract

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A Chicago-area hospital association that runs a health information exchange is suing its IT vendor that went out of business and indicated plans to destroy all client data, alleging a breach of contract, reports Law360.

The Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council operates the MetroChicago Health Information Exchange, which Sandlot Solutions was the IT support contractor. Sandlot Solutions, based in Irving, Texas, said it planned to destroy all client data after providing a copy of the data to MCHC, a move which could jeopardize MCHC if there is a problem with the transfer, according to Law360. MCHC seeks an injunction against Sandlot Solutions preventing the company from destroying the data until the transfer is successfully completed.

The lawsuit also names Sandlot's owner Santa Rosa Consulting as a defendant.

Law360 quotes the lawsuit as saying, "MCHC has grave concerns that the data transition plan suggested by Sandlot and Santa Rosa will not allow MCHC to properly download and validate the copy of the client data produced by Sandlot in order to determine whether any of the client data is even usable and not corrupted before Sandlot destroys the existing client data."

MCHC said if there are problems with the data transfer or the data is unusable, the organization would have to start all over to compile patient data to rebuild the HIE, according to the report.

The lawsuit also outlines potential HIPAA violations. Sandlot has allegedly not provided MCHC with authentication logs that provide notations from whenever a patient's file is accessed. If Sandlot does not provide the logs before destroying the information, it could prevent MCHC from complying with HIPAA audit control requirements, according to the report.

Sandlot reportedly shut down the MetroChicago HIE on March 29, which blocks access to data. "By shutting down the MetroChicago HIE system and denying MCHC's participants access to their client data on the system," Sandlot is breaching its contract, MCHC alleges in the lawsuit, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

Richard Saslow, general counsel and chief administrative officer at Santa Rosa, told Crain's Chicago Business Sandlot went out of business because it ran out of capital. "We believe Sandlot had a great product and (was) on the verge of doing great things in healthcare communications," Mr. Saslow told Crain's.

Mr. Saslow said Sandlot's customers who wanted their data returned and not destroyed have received it, including MCHC. He said Sandlot has not filed a response to the lawsuit yet, according to the report.

MetroChicago HIE went live in September 2014, connecting more than three hospitals.

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5 recent vendor contracts, go-lives

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