Rutledge Files Complaint Against Health Record Company for HIPAA ViolationsThu, Dec 6, 2018
More than 54,000 Arkansans affected
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she, along with 11 other states, has filed a complaint against Medical Informatics Engineering Inc. (MIE) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. MIE and NoMoreClipboard LLC are web-based health record companies headquartered in Indiana who are accused of failing to protect patient user data.
“Arkansans put their trust in medical professionals across the state, who then trust data companies to protect the personal information of patients,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medical Informatics did not provide that security and put the personal information of Arkansans at risk. It is important that data storage companies maintain the highest level of protections against hackers.”
The complaint alleges that MIE failed to implement basic industry-accepted data security measures to protect individual’s health information from unauthorized access, in part, by using generic accounts that could be accessed through the use of a shared password. The company violated provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as violations of state deceptive trade practices law, notice of data breach statutes and personal information protection acts.
Between May 7, 2015 and May 26, 2015, hackers infiltrated WebChart, a web application run by MIE. The hackers stole the electronic health information of more than 3.9 million individuals, including names, telephone numbers, mailing addresses, usernames, passwords, security questions and answers, spousal information, email addresses, date of birth, social security numbers, lab results, health insurance policy information, diagnosis, disability codes, doctors’ names, medical conditions, and children's names and birth statistics.
The data breach affected 54,356 Arkansans.
This filing marks the first time state attorneys general have joined together to pursue a HIPAA-related data breach case in federal court.
In addition to Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina and Wisconsin filed the complaint.
Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Debt-Collection CompanyWed, Dec 5, 2018
Arkansans to receive more than $410,000 in debt relief
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Arkansas has joined 42 other states and the District of Columbia in an agreement to settle illegal debt-collection practice accusations against Midland Funding.
“I want companies like Midland to think twice before using these tactics in Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This settlement will make Arkansans whole after Midland violated both Arkansas and federal law through its deceptive practices.”
Between 2003 and 2009, Midland engaged in various debt-collection activities that harmed Arkansans, such as filing false affidavits in court proceedings, failing to verify debts as requested by consumers, attempting to collect debts that are legally unenforceable and signing affidavits of debts owed without reviewing the account. The settlement affirms that Midland is required to follow all Arkansas and federal debt-collection laws.
As part of the settlement, Midland will eliminate or reduce the judgment balances of more than 300 Arkansans, totaling about $410,000, in cases where Midland used an affidavit against them in court between 2003 and 2009. Midland will notify impacted consumers by mail of the balance reduction and no further action is necessary from the consumer. In addition, Midland will set aside $25,000 per state to compensate consumers who may have paid Midland money they did not owe.
Rutledge Reaches Settlement with NorthStar AlarmMon, Dec 3, 2018
Says, ‘NorthStar violated Arkansas law and took advantage of consumers’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and NorthStar Alarm Services LLC have reached a settlement to resolve allegations that NorthStar violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Home Solicitation Sales Act. The company’s representatives engaged in unlawful and high pressure door-to-door sales tactics, which included misrepresenting its affiliation with other alarm companies and failing to disclose the length and cost of service contracts. NorthStar also routinely failed to provide consumers with a three-day notice to cancel services as required by Arkansas law and unlawfully renewed contracts automatically or made it difficult for consumers to terminate their contract.
“NorthStar violated Arkansas law and took advantage of consumers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas law prescribes specific protections for consumers in door-to-door sales transactions. NorthStar representatives ignored those safeguards and used dishonest sales tactics to entice some Arkansans to purchase a home alarm system. This type of deceptive behavior will not be tolerated in Arkansas.”
The Agreed Order, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, enjoins NorthStar from future unlawful sales tactics and includes $19,960.89 in restitution to affected consumers and payment of up to $180,000 to the state.
Rutledge Releases Statement on Passing of President George H.W. BushSat, Dec 1, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after the announcement of the passing of the 41st President of the United States, President George H.W. Bush.
“Today, Americans mourn the loss of a great warrior and public servant,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “President George H.W. Bush was dedicated to serving all Americans throughout his career, but most importantly he was a beloved family man. I am sending prayers of comfort to the entire Bush family and as Americans, we mourn a great man.”
Rutledge Praises SCOTUS Endangered Species Act DecisionTue, Nov 27, 2018
Says, ‘Today’s ruling is a win for private property owners’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling expanding administrative discretion under the Endangered Species Act. Rutledge, along with 14 other states, joined an amicus brief reinforcing the Endangered Species Act, as written.
“Today’s ruling is a win for private property owners across the country,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The ruling threatened the private property rights of citizens and the interests of the states. This decision properly vacated the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that expanded the federal government’s power to dictate how private property, including land that the species has never lived on, is used under the guise of conserving endangered species.”
Led by the Alabama Attorney General, Rutledge is joined on the brief by attorneys general from Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.
Rutledge Reaches Settlement $625 Million with AmerisourceBergenWed, Nov 21, 2018
Arkansas to receive $2.8 Million
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced Arkansas has joined with 42 other states and the federal government to reach an agreement with the pharmaceutical distributor, AmerisourceBergen Corporation (ABC) to settle allegations that the company introduced adulterated drugs into interstate commerce. As a result, ABC will pay the states and the federal government $625 million dollars, of which $99,863,569.00 will go to the Medicaid programs. Additionally, ABC subsidiary, AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group (“ABSG”), pleaded guilty to illegally distributing misbranded drugs in September 2017. ABSG is the parent entity for companies in the specialty pharmaceutical market, including biotechnology and oncology, in addition to pharmaceutical manufacturers and providers. ABSG agreed to pay $260 million in criminal fines and forfeitures. As part of the settlement Arkansas will receive $2,813,129.97 in restitution and other recoveries.
“Protecting the consumers includes ensuring pharmaceutical manufacturers and providers are following approved methods for manufacturing, distribution, and dispensing of prescription drugs,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Multistate efforts like this settlement play an oversight role of the federal processes which are in place to give consumers peace of mind when reaching for the medicine cabinets. Using unsafe or untested substances or procedures in the manufacturing, distribution, and dispensing of medication to increase profits is unacceptable and must be aggressively addressed to protect Arkansans and all consumers.”
The national federal and state civil settlement resolves allegations concerning conduct of a purported pharmacy ABSG opened in Dothan, Alabama named Medical Initiatives, Inc. (“MII”). MII pooled vials of oncology supportive care drugs used during chemotherapy to create Pre-filled Syringes (PFS) to sell to practitioners. The drugs involved in the scheme include Aloxi®, Anzemet®, Kytril®, Neupogen®, Procrit®, as well as the generic version of Kytril®. The investigation revealed that MII was not a pharmacy, but a repackager, and as such, was required to apply for a New Drug Application (NDA) for the PFS. To prepare the PFS, MII broke the seal of the FDA-approved drug vials and repackaged them into plastic syringes that allowed MII to sell the excess drug product in the vials, known as “overfill.” The PFS, which were prepared in an unsterile environment and often contained particles of foreign matter, were then shipped to providers through another branch of ABSG, Oncology Supply Company (“OSC”).
MII was neither a pharmacy in producing and selling the PFS nor did it comply with pharmacy regulations in any state where it was licensed. Additionally, since there was no NDA, the drugs were unapproved by the FDA as well as adulterated, therefore not eligible for reimbursement by government healthcare programs. The civil settlement also resolves double billing for the same vial of drug as a result of using the overfill drug product and unlawful kickbacks provided to physicians to induce them to purchase Procrit® in PFS rather than vials.
The investigation resulted from three qui tam actions originally filed in 2010, 2012 and 2014 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York under the federal False Claims Act and various state false claims statutes.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units Team participated in the investigation and conducted the settlement negotiations with ABC on behalf of the states. The Team included representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General for the states of New York, California, Florida, Illinois and Oregon.