St. Charles Health System is being sued for $500,000 by a patient who claims a nurse illegally shared his private health information without his permission.
Jason Miller was receiving treatment at St. Charles Bend on May 15, 2016, for injuries related to an all-terrain vehicle accident.
A nurse not assigned to him, Jennifer Noble, allegedly accessed his medical information and shared his blood alcohol content with a friend they both knew, Kim Ceniga, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
Miller and Ceniga know each other, but Miller never wanted his information to be shared with Ceniga, the lawsuit states.
Ryan Kaiser, Miller’s attorney from the Bend law firm Broken Top Law, would not comment on the details of the case, including what Miller’s blood alcohol content was, or Miller’s relationship with Ceniga.
Kaiser met with the hospital’s legal counsel in August to discuss the incident, but they were unable to come to a resolution so a lawsuit was filed, he said.
The lawsuit includes three claims seeking noneconomic damages to be proven at trial, with a minimum sum of $500,000.
Kaiser sees the case as cut and dry — medical information should never be shared without the patient’s permission.
“These caregivers shouldn’t disclose one shred of our private health information without out consent,” Kaiser said Friday.
Lisa Goodman, St. Charles spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit and would not say if Noble has been disciplined for the alleged incident.
Noble holds an active certified nursing license in Oregon, and the state Board of Nursing website lists no disciplinary action on her license.
“We don’t ever comment on pending litigation,” Goodman said.
Patient confidentiality has been an issue at St. Charles Health System.
A former certified nursing assistant, Dawnielle Marie Vaca, 35, of Prineville, was charged in July with two counts of computer crimes for inappropriately viewing the medical records of 2,459 patients.
The records, accessed between Oct. 8, 2014, and Jan. 16, included patients’ diagnoses, their physicians’ names, medical histories, medications and treatment information. They included names, addresses, birth dates and health insurance information.
St. Charles learned of the breach and launched its investigation Jan. 16. Vaca, who said she viewed the medical records because she was curious, was later fired.
St. Charles offered a year of free credit monitoring and identity restoration services to everyone affected. In addition, St. Charles upgraded its Fair Warning Audit software to include more privacy services. The update allows for more proactive auditing and monitoring of potentially inappropriate use and access to electronic medical records, according to the hospital.
Vaca, who also goes by Dawnielle Post, pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced to 18 months probation and 200 hours of community service.
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