The Attorney General of Kansas announced on February 14, 2020 that AltaCare Corporation, of Alpharetta, Georgia, d/b/a Pinecrest Nursing Home in Humboldt, Kansas, has been enjoined from doing business in Kansas for 10 years from the effective date of a consent judgment and fined $100,000 for failing to protect patient and employee records. AltaCare also agreed to reimburse the Kansas Attorney General’s Office for the cost of the investigation. An additional fine in the amount of $125,000 was suspended on condition that the company remains in compliance with the terms of the judgment.
The company was also ordered to properly destroy all Pinecrest Nursing Home records at the company’s expense by shredding, erasing, or otherwise modifying the personal information in the records to make them unreadable. “Personal information” includes information such as a social security number, driver’s license number, financial account number or credit or debit card number that can be misused to commit identity theft or otherwise harm the person whose information is compromised. It also includes any information, such as medical records, for which a security obligation is imposed by federal or state statute. Under Kansas law, businesses that collect the personal information of others have a duty to safeguard it.
The judgment resolves a lawsuit filed in May 2017 alleging AltaCare, as the manager of Pinecrest Nursing Home, violated Kansas data-protection laws by failing to implement and maintain reasonable procedures and practices to protect personal information and by failing to take reasonable steps to destroy or arrange for the secure destruction of records containing personal information when the records no longer are to be used.
Investigators with the Kansas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division learned that Pinecrest Nursing Home was unsecured and was broken into and vandalized by unknown persons multiple times after the facility closed in 2011. Records containing personal information had been left observable and accessible in plain sight. Although Humboldt city officials notified AltaCare that the records were not secure within the Pinecrest building, the company failed to take action to protect those records and the personal information they contained.
The Kansas Attorney General’s Office previously obtained a default judgment in the case in January 2018 against Florida Senior Housing Council, Inc., as the owner of the Pinecrest Nursing Home property. That company was ordered to pay $750,000 in civil penalties and $19,869.12 in investigative fees and expenses and is permanently enjoined from violating Kansas consumer protection laws.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Kansas or in another U.S. state due to a nursing home fall, nursing home aspiration, nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home under-staffing, or the nursing home failing to properly care for a vulnerable adult, you should promptly find a Kansas nursing home claim lawyer, or a nursing home claim lawyer in your state, who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
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