On August 10, 2015, the Seventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a proposed class action accusing Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp., of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to safe keep health data stolen from its offices, saying the hospital isn’t a consumer reporting agency.

The FCRA defines a credit reporting agency to mean:

any person which, [1] for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, [2] regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers [3] for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties …

The Seventh Circuit found that Advocate did not meet the first or third elements of a credit reporting agency. As to the first element, the Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that Advocate receives fees because Advocate does not get paid for assembling patient information, instead Advocate is “network of affiliated doctors and hospitals that treat patients.”   Further, the Court found that because the information

Advocate transmits to insurers concerns Advocate’s experiences with its own patients, including, e.g., personally identifying information, medical diagnoses, and the names of treating physicians, it does not meet the third requirement.

The case is Tierney et al. v. Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp., case number 14-3168, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.