WakeMed allegedly released private patient information in 158 bankruptcy cases

A law firm has filed a motion in a bankruptcy case, alleging Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health & Hospitals violated the federal bankruptcy code by releasing patients' private information, including Social Security numbers, in 158 cases since 2013, according to a WRAL report.

Cort Walker, a bankruptcy and civil business attorney at Sasser Law Firm in Carey, N.C., told WRAL he first noticed the issues while reviewing records WakeMed had filed in court to collect debts from former patients.

The law firm claims it identified problems with WakeMed filings in 158 cases. For example, many of the filings allegedly included full Social Security numbers and dates of birth when the bankruptcy code only allows the last four digits of a Social Security number and only the year or birth to be included.

In its motion for contempt, sanctions and damages against WakeMed, the law firm calls the violations of the bankruptcy code "flagrant," according to the report.

Regarding the issues, WakeMed President and CEO Donald Gintzig said the health system is in the process of determining whether any documents filed through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system contained personally identifiable information. "We have no reason to believe that the information has been improperly accessed, acquired or otherwise misused in any way," he said, according to the report.

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