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After a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved final orders resolving complaints that PaymentsMD, LLC and its former CEO, Michael C. Hughes, violated consumers’ privacy by collecting personal medical information without their consent.

The settlements were first announced in December, 2014. In its complaints, the FTC alleged that Payments MD and Hughes altered the signup process for a consumer health billing site to include permission to collect consumers’ sensitive health information for an electronic health record portal site. According to the complaint, the company contacted health insurance companies, pharmacies, medical offices and labs seeking consumers’ health information, without adequately informing consumers that the company would be seeking such information.

Under the terms of the settlements, PaymentsMD and Hughes must destroy any information collected related to the Patient Health Report service. In addition, the respondents are banned from deceiving consumers about the way they collect and use information, including how information they collect might be shared with or collected from a third party, and they must obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before collecting health information about a consumer from a third party.

The Commission votes to approve the final orders were 5-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Jay Mayfield
Office of Public Affairs

David Lincicum
Bureau of Consumer Protection