Data breach at Coalinga State Hospital reveals private information on nearly 1,800 patients

COALINGA, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Friday, the Department of State Hospitals announced a privacy breach at the Coalinga State Hospital.

Officials say an employee improperly gave confidential information to the United States District Court, Eastern District of California on nearly 1,800 current and former patients.

The breaches happened on July 21, 2013, October 12, 2016, and August 27, 2019.

Some of the information given to the court includes patient names, birthdays, legal commitment information, and admission dates. Officials say the employee provided the information to decide if the patients were able to waive fees for filing a lawsuit.

While some of the information is not a breach of privacy, the Department of State Hospitals says it is required to disclose the breach because federal and state privacy laws do not allow some of that information to be released if a lawsuit was never filed with the court.

Officials discovered the breach on August 12, 2021, when the court reached out to the department for an updated patient list.

All of the current and former patients impacted will be notified.
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