UPMC faces patient privacy lawsuit

UPMC and the town of Monroeville, Pa., allegedly breached patient privacy when ambulance dispatches and patient information were sent to a former police chief and a third party, according to a lawsuit, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Assistant Chief Steven Pascarella in August blew the whistle when he filed a suit, claiming George Polnar, the former police chief and now manager of security and parking at UPMC East, received ambulance dispatches. Although Polnar is no longer a first responder, he frequently received email alerts to his personal cell phone multiple times a day about ambulance calls, the newspaper noted.

The lawsuit charges that Polnar received EMS response information, which didn't contain the name but did include the age, sex and address information, and forwarded the email to his friend, police secretary Linda Moy. However, Polnar said he received the information over the police scanner and then texted Moy.

The town has since reconfigured its paging system and updated its list of recipients who receive such information. Polnar's name "just never came off" after he retired, according to Monroeville solicitor Bruce Dice, who said there's no HIPAA violation.

UPMC did not provide a comment to the newspaper.

According to UPMC's website, "there are no privacy or breach alerts to report."

For more information:
- read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
- check out the UPMC website on privacy

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