More IRS Scandal: Personal Medical Information Stolen in California

More IRS trouble…

It has been reported (also here) that the IRS is being sued by a California entity claiming that in March 2011, 15 IRS agents allegedly accessed and stole 60 million medical records from 10 million patients. The records included psych and GYN information, as well as other personal medical data.

The medical records of all California state judges were included in the theft. The IRS said that the agents had obtained search warrants to access financial information of a former employee of the California company. However, health records of that person, or any other, were not authorized.

An excerpt from the complaint against the IRS:

“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents. No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search.”

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, enacted in 1996, explicitly provides a privacy rule that protects personal health information and gives patients rights to determine who has access to that information.

Once again, it appears that this particular government agency operating under the current administration has shown little regard for the law or for the privacy and protection of American citizens.