Secretary Mike Levitt, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Sought as Defendant to Explain Foot-Dragging of HIPAA Privacy Investigation in California Lawsuit

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Nurse claims Guantanamo Bay style interrogation interview used to intimidate and harass her in an effort to white wash the DHHS investigation.

Documents filed last week in Sacramento federal court (USDC for the EDC No. 2:05-CV-2410-FCD-KLM, Clark v. Rea) seek to add Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as a “permissive defendant” in proceedings alleging violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) against an attorney of the Adventist Health System in Roseville, California.

Plaintiff Barb Clark, a registered nurse, claims that she felt “reluctantly safe under the federal medical records confidential law” to answer questions in an interrogation interview by a criminal psychologist hired by the Adventists as part of her on-going workers’ compensation claim against the hospital chain, court documents claim.

“It was more like a military intelligence interrogation, something you might find in Guantanamo Bay,” reports Clark, “but, I thought HIPAA and the DHHS would protect me. They didn’t!”

Court documents allege that a highly sensitive psychiatric interrogation report was then distributed by an Adventist lawyer known as Dennis Hershewe to nearly a dozen people to maliciously harm the nurse and destroy her career in an effort to win a California workers’ compensation case.

“My complaint about these HIPAA privacy abuses has been sitting on the desk of the DHHS for over a year, I want Mike Levitt (Secretary of DHHS), or his privacy czar Winston Wilkinson, to explain why such a simple investigation is taking so long,” cited Clark.

Copies of the court documents can be obtained at General information about the proceedings can also be found at and .

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Sam Gold
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