Arkansas AG reaches $770K settlement with closed north Arkansas hospital operator



LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Attorney General has reached a $770,000 settlement with a hospital that abandoned thousands of patient records containing personal information.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office said Country Medical Services of Arkansas, Inc. failed to protect patient data when it closed Eastern Ozarks Hospital in Cherokee Village in 2004. When the hospital shut down it left behind approximately 146,000 patient records, which included copies of Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and medical test results.

Investigators said they examined the files at the property and found most appeared to have been rummaged through, likely by trespassers who wanted to gain personal information.

Officials said the records had been removed from the former hospital. The $40,000 required to remove, store, and soon destroy the records was factored in as part of the settlement.

A spokesperson said that the remaining $730,000 of the settlement is suspended if Country Medical Services of Arkansas follows the terms of the judgment, including not owning or operating a business in Arkansas in the future.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will leave office in January when she takes the oath of office as Arkansas Lieutenant Governor.



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