House asks IRS about purported seizure of millions of medical records

The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter Tuesday to acting  IRS Administrator Daniel Werfel requesting information about a 2011 agency search and seizure of as many as 60 million medical records from a California health care provider.

The letter follows a recent lawsuit regarding the legality of the seizure of more than 10 million American patients’ medical information while executing a warrant related to a former employee’s financial records, leaders of the Republican-led committee said.

The letter, which gives Werfel until June 25 to respond, cites a news report this year that states the unnamed health-care provider is now suing the IRS and 15 unnamed agents in California Superior Court and that the suit alleges the agents stole more than 60 million medical records from more than 10 million American patients during a search conducted March 11, 2011.

The IRS could not be reached late Tuesday for comment.

The committee says the warrant authorizing that search was apparently limited to the financial records of a former employee of the company and did not authorize the confiscation of the personal medical records of those who had no connection to the initial IRS investigation.

Members said the allegations are of particular concern considering “the IRS’s increased role in implementing health care under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”