Yesterday, the founder of one of the conservative groups targeted by the IRS brought up his concerns regarding if the agency could be trusted to handle health care information under Obamacare if it is known already to disclose information that it wasn’t legally allowed.
At the same time, the IRS is already being presented with a case from a company that claims it stole more than 60 million medical records of more than 10 million Americans.
The complaint filed by John Doe Company against 15 John Doe IRS agents (this is how the plaintiff and defendants are identified) states that these records could include those of every California state judge, state court employees, members of the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Directors Guild, and “prominent citizens in the world of entertainment, business and government, from all walks of life.”
Court House News reported that the records were obtained while the IRS was investigating a tax matter with a warrant for a former employee of the company. The warrant authorized the IRS to obtain financial records of the employee in question, “not seizure of any health care or medical record of any persons, least of all third parties completely unrelated to the matter.”
“[...] 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,” the complaint stated. The amount of records seized in March 2011 is “roughly one out of every twenty-five adult American citizens.”
It also says that executives at John Doe Company warned the IRS agents about the privileged records — records that included “psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual or drug treatment, and a wide range of medical matters covering the most intimate and private of concerns” — but these warnings were “ignored and discarded.”
What’s more, the complaint states that while the IRS agents were obtaining these records, they used a media system at the company to watch the NCAA tournament.
“Adding insult to injury, after unlawfully seizing the records and searching their intimate parts, defendants decided to use John Doe Company’s media system to watch basketball, ordering pizza and Coca-Cola, to take in part of the NCAA tournament, illustrating their complete disregard of the court’s order and the Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights,” the complain states.
The company tried to reobtain the records but that the IRS refused.
The lawsuit being led by the plaintiff’s attorney Robert E. Barnes seeks $25,000 per violation per individual, a judgment that would “protect the proprietary and privileged information of the medical records seized,” and an injunction to prevent the information from being shared.
Read more about the complaint in Court House News here.
(H/T: Healthcare IT News)