KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A class action complaint has been filed against East Tennessee Children’s Hospital after the personal information of more than 400,000 patients was exposed in a data breach in March.
According to the complaint filed Wednesday by a hospital patient and their parent, the personal information of approximately 422,531 patients was exposed in a data breach in March. Information disclosed in the breach included names, contact information, dates of birth, medical history information and social security numbers.
The complaints seek to be certified as class action lawsuit that would represent any affected patients who wish to join. The complaint seeks payment for damages and attorney fees if the case is successful.
Affected families claim that the hospital was negligent by failing to properly safeguard their personal information and breached their fiduciary duty to act primarily for the benefit of its patients and former patients. It also argues that the hospital breached the ‘implied contract’ between the hospital and patients that private information would be kept safe.
The hospital is providing affected families with free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services following the breach. The hospital declined to comment on the pending litigation and released the following statement.
“Along with providing outstanding patient care, the confidentiality, privacy, and security of information within our care are among East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s highest priorities. Upon identifying this incident, we promptly took steps to secure our systems and investigate the full scope of the event. We are also reviewing and strengthening existing policies, procedures, and safeguards related to cyber security and have already taken additional steps to further enhance the security of our systems. We notified federal law enforcement of this incident, as well as appropriate state and federal regulators. We also mailed notices with information about the incident to those individuals for whom we have address information and, as an added precaution, we are providing individuals with credit monitoring and identity theft protection services at no cost. Information on the services and instructions on how to enroll in these services is included in the letter mailed to individuals.”East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
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East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is a 152-bed hospital and one of four Comprehensive Regional Pediatric Centers in the state.