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Woman alleges Sacred Heart improperly released information to police

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 22, 2015, 9:13 p.m.

A woman is suing Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, accusing it of releasing confidential medical information to the Spokane Police Department.

Sarah M. Roberts, also known as Sarah M. Burrows-Gust, was hit by a car as she and her two young children were crossing Monroe Street in the middle of the block near Montgomery in October 2013. Her 5-year-old daughter was killed.

Hospital employees told police that Roberts tested positive for methamphetamine, a statement that was included in court records and reported in the media, the lawsuit alleges. The information was provided even though there was no search warrant or court order, and providing it to police was a violation of the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed last week, the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory later tested samples of Roberts’ blood and found no traces of methamphetamine.

A hospital spokeswoman said Thursday that it is against hospital policy to comment on an active lawsuit.


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