Legal Briefs: News From Around NH

HCA data breach affects NH patients, Plourde joins Shaheen & Gordon … and more
Portsmouth Regional Hospital
Patients at Portsmouth Regional Hospital (shown) as well as Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Dover and Parkland Medical Center in Derry may have been affected by the HCA Healthcare data breach.

HCA data breach affects NH patients

A data breach reported this week by HCA Healthcare could impact as many at 11 million patients in 20 states, including those at three New Hampshire hospitals.

Patients at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Frisbie Memorial Hospital of Rochester Parkland Medical Center of Derry were affected, the company said. A number of clinics on the Seacoast associated with the local hospitals were affected as well.

The company said the data breach does not appear to include financial information, but does release addresses, phone numbers, emails and birth dates, posted to an online forum popular with cybercrooks by a hacker trying to sell them. The Nashville, Tenn.-based provider said the stolen data was not believed to include Social Security numbers, payment information or clinical info such as diagnoses.

HCA said the data did include information on scheduled appointments and medical departments involved. A file dumped online by the hacker on Monday following what appeared to be a failed attempt to extort HCA includes nearly 1 million records from the company’s San Antonio division.

In a statement posted to its website on Monday, HCA said the data was stolen from “an external storage location” used to “automate the formatting of email messages.” HCA did not say when the data was stolen or when it learned of the theft.

The company said it would offer credit monitoring and identity theft protection “where appropriate.” It cautioned that patients should be wary of phone calls, emails and text messages.

Plourde joins Shaheen & Gordon

Julianne Plourde has joined the Family Law Group at Shaheen & Gordon and is based in the firm’s Concord office.

Julianneplourde Matchingbackground

Julianne Plourde

Plourde, a recent graduate of the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program, has completed domestic violence emergency (DOVE) training and has experience representing clients through the DOVE project. She also completed training in collaborative divorce, an out-of-court divorce process that relies on negotiation.

Insurance Department issues revised insurance fraud bulletin

The NH Insurance Department has revised the bulletin covering life insurance policies that offer discounted premium rates, or rewards, to consumers based on their participation in healthy reward programs.

The new bulletin, INS-23-023-AB, provides carriers with updated guidance about permissible wellness reward programs and aims to provide carriers with appropriate flexibility to design programs that incentivize healthy individuals to maintain their well-being.

The agency said the “evolving perspective” on wellness programs, has led it to recognize the “substantial evidence” supporting health benefits associated with active participation in wellness programs.

“Wellness programs not only promote better health outcomes but also enable insurers to provide policyholders with various benefits, including discounted premiums or program rewards,” said Deputy Commissioner DJ Bettencourt. “By incentivizing policyholders to engage in healthy activities or achieve specific wellness objectives, insurers can build a healthier pool of insured individuals, leading to potential savings in claims costs. This mutually beneficial arrangement allows both the consumer and the industry to thrive.”

The new bulletin encourages the implementation of permissible wellness reward programs. This flexibility empowers the insurance industry to continue pioneering new approaches that promote healthier lifestyles and well-being among consumers and “encourage carriers to leverage the opportunities presented by wellness programs that contribute to a healthier future for all,: said Bettencourt.

Judge fines LBRY over cryptocurrency sales

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro is ordering Manchester-based tech firm LBRY to pay $111,614 in fines for violating securities regulations, NH Public Radio reported.

In 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued LBRY for failing to register its own cryptocurrency as a security and touting its potential value to investors. LBRY contended the government has not spelled out clear rules on cryptocurrencies, and that it began offering its digital currency “during a time of great uncertainty as to the regulatory requirements,” according to court paperwork.

Last November, granted a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the SEC, ruling that LBRY did not have a “triable defense” in the case. This week, Barbadoro sided with the SEC in determining LBRY’s civil penalties, rather than the company’s request for a $50,000 fine.

LBRY is the parent company of Odysee, a YouTube-like platform that uses blockchain technology. Content creators on Odysee could earn digital tokens issued by the company. Users could then spend them on the website or other apps, while investors could buy and sell the token on third-party exchange sites. NHPR reported that, according to the judge’s order, LBRY has said it plans to “burn” its holdings of the cryptocurrency.

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