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Of Leaks, Pot, Movies, Start-Up Cash and More Movies

Columnist: Bill Meagher
December, 2016 Issue
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Bill Meagher
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A report by IBM this year said that, in 2015, there were more than 100 million medical records breached in the United States. 

We’ve all seen the fun that can be had when emails get leaked and hackers do what they do on a national level, but lately the computer hijinks have hit closer to home. Marin Hospital District recently paid a ransom for data that, it says, had nothing to do with patients or finances.

The district, which operates Marin General Hospital as well as related facilities, paid cash to gain access to records and data that Marin Medical Practice Concepts (MMPC) provides as a district vendor. The district reported the data that was held hostage didn’t include financial or personal information on its patients, but rather covered two weeks this summer and pertained to physical exams, some clinical histories and communications between patients and their doctors.

Novato-based MMPC supplies electrical medical data services to Prima Medical Group, a collection of Marin doctors. The supplier has maintained radio silence as far as the media regarding the cyber- attack, citing security reasons. For its part, Marin General released a statement saying that protecting patient data was a serious focus and that it would be working with its vendors to see that their security systems were updated. I bet they will.

A report by IBM this year said that, in 2015, there were more than 100 million medical records breached in the United States and that the medical industry has become the most popular target for hackers. The attacks are expensive in a number of ways, not the least of which being the ransom paid by medical institutions to get the data back. On average, cost of a breach in 2014 was $3.8 million, a jump of 23 percent from 2013.

It isn’t just that medical records contain a wealth of info that can be used for fraud and identity theft, it’s that the medical industry has been slow to adopt security measures that make cyber-attacks more difficult, the IBM report said.

Sign of the Times

Staying with Marin General for just a little longer, the hospital is considering a policy allowing its patients to use marijuana in its hospital rooms. The proposal was passed by the hospital board on a 2-0 vote, with the majority of the board sitting the vote out. The next step is a series of forums (beginning in January) to educate the public and doctors on the medical use of pot.

Medical cannabis in California will come under new regulation in January 2018, with potency and other issues troubling some docs being regulated. On a practical level, the hospital still faces the fact that no matter what happens with state regulations, the feds still have pot on lockdown.

At this writing, the November election and the question of whether recreational pot use will be allowed in California still remains undecided, but it would appear that the time honored phrase, “dude, time to share your meds,” may take on a whole new meaning at some point at MGH.

Please spell my name right when you send those letters.

Down Sausalito Way

Local movie fans received welcome news when the Sausalito planning commission approved a design for the Cinemark Theater on Caledonia Street. The new design calls for a pair of theaters, a restaurant and an upstairs office.

The theater was shut down last year when the chain said it no longer made economic sense to operate. It’s the only movie theater in the bayside city and sits on Caledonia Street, the street just off Bridgeway, which has long been the avenue regarded as the locals hangout.

Still in Sausalito, Breakaway Funding LLC announced a partnership with Fresno First Bank. According to Breakaway, which is focused on providing securities-based crowdfunding services to start-ups, the bank will make $10 million available to Breakaway clients as part of a loan portfolio.

The deal calls for Breakaway to screen clients and provide counsel, as well as for its online portal to raise capital. In turn, those businesses will have the ability to access loans from Fresno First.

Breakaway was created by Kim Kaselionis, the former CEO of Circle Bank, after Circle Bank was acquired by Umpqua Bank in 2012.  

Your Marin Moment

Motorists passing by the Lark Theater in Larkspur on October 3 must have been fascinated by what they saw on the sidewalk. Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty, which, besides having a pretty long name, also has nine Marin offices and more than 150 agents, staged an event where the real estate firm screened 14 different films featuring their realtors.

The premier included a red carpet, bubbly and the requisite after party. Celebrities spotted at the gala included Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Snoop Dog, though the latter appeared to know nothing about the event and had simply wandered over from Marin General.  

Bill Meagher is a contributing editor at NorthBay biz magazine and an associate editor in the west coast office of The Deal, a Wall Street-based digital financial news outlet. He calls San Rafael home and he can be reached at bmeagher@northbaybiz.com with comments, story ideas and threats of legal action.

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