Lane County Health and Human Facilities and New England Dermatology Warn Patients to PHI Disclosure

 

The medical records of over 17,000 patients have been disclosed in two recent occurrences in Massachusetts and Oregon.

Lane County Health and Human Facilities in Oregon is informing over 700 patients that some of their PH has been lost and has possibly been destroyed.

49 boxes having patient records were moved to a provisional storage service while the Charnelton Clinic in Eugene was being refurbished. During a usual search, the boxes of files were found to be missing from the storage service on June 19.

Many teams carried out additional quests for the lost boxes but they could not be found. Lane County Health and Human Facilities doubts the boxes of files have been abolished together with other paperwork as part of its usual document administration practice for non-medical files. Nevertheless, it has not been possible to verify whether that was certainly the case.

The files had information like patients’ full names, telephone numbers, addresses, medical histories, and Social Security numbers. 566 files linked to patients of Community Health Centers in Lane County and 149 files were linked to Lane County Developmental Disabilities client files.

Patients have been informed regarding the breach and an offer has been made to refund patients for 6 months’ membership of a recognized credit checking facility. Lane County Health and Human Services has studied its record storage procedures and policies and has now obtained specific, safe medical records storage facilities to make sure that similar breaches are avoided in the time to come.

16,154 Patients of New England Dermatology Informed of Probable Disclosure of PHI

16,154 patients of New England Dermatology have been notified that some of their PHI might have been disposed of wrongly.

Boxes of paper files were disposed of without the files first being made illegible and unintelligible, as is needed by HIPAA. Usually, paper records having patients’ protected health information are torn before removal. In this instance, New England Dermatology thinks that the files were gathered by its waste contractor prior to they were torn.

New England Dermatology wasn’t capable to decide precisely what files were disposed of insecurely, so as a protection, all patients who had paid a visit to its Northampton office between June 10, 2013 and May 23, 2018 have been informed about the possible disclosure of their PHI.

The paperwork had information like names, mailing addresses, and health information noted in the course of visits to the office. Highly confidential information like bank account particulars, credit and debit card particulars, medical insurance particulars, and Social Security numbers were not shown at any point.

New England Dermatology has in the meantime revised its waste disposal procedures to avoid similar occurrences from happening in the time to come and additional training has been provided to workers and its freelancers.