Officials with MultiCare Health System think a woman who operates a website critical of its practices might have gained access to the private records of some of its patients.
On Thursday, they persuaded Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper to issue a restraining order preventing Jumapili Ikuseghan from destroying, publishing or moving the records until a March 27 hearing.
Ikuseghan, who operates the website multicareabuses.com, writes about what she believes are MultiCare’s shortcomings, including allegations in ongoing lawsuits by other parties that the health system has abused a state law that allows it to file medical liens against some patients.
She told The News Tribune last week she does not have the records and never did.
“No, I don’t have records,” she said.
MultiCare contends otherwise in pleadings filed last week in Superior Court. The company’s lawyers said Ikuseghan contacted MultiCare recently to say someone delivered two boxes of patient records to her doorstep.
Ikuseghan initially agreed to turn over the records but later backed out, saying instead she would destroy them, MultiCare’s lawyers said. Allowing her to keep the records or destroy them is unacceptable, they said.
Ikuseghan is not authorized to have private patient records, and destroying them would prevent MultiCare from being able to investigate how they were obtained, the health system’s lawyers said.
They do not think Ikuseghan took them, but want her to turn them over, if she has them at all.
“We don’t actually know what she has,” MultiCare spokeswoman Marce Edwards said Friday.
The health system has conducted an investigation but hasn’t found any evidence its records were inappropriately accessed, Edwards said.
“But it’s our responsibility to protect our patients’ privacy,” she said.