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Mar 27,2009
Court accidentally reveals health info.
by UPI

WASHINGTON -- Patients of a La Plata, Md., medical office are among 250 people whose health insurance information was posted online by the U.S. District Court of Maryland.

Attorney Bruce Marcus says the information was erroneously included in documents placed on the federal court system's online database in a case involving investigation of insurance fraud, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Marcus's client and another physician are subjects of the federal probe.

Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the Post corporations, universities and healthcare providers have mistakenly posted private information on the Internet but she said she has never heard of a similar incident involving medical information obtained through online court documents.

"When a court posts medical information, it punishes patients who had nothing to do with the prosecution or the crime allegedly committed in the first place," Coney said to the newspaper.

Such information is especially sensitive, she says, because a privacy breach could reveal a patient's medical conditions.

Copyright © 2009, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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