PHI Breach Impacting 1,254 Patients Informed by Associated Dermatology & Skin Cancer Clinic of Helena

July 6, 2018


In the previous few days, Associated Dermatology & Skin Cancer Clinic of Helena, MT, has informed a breach of physical protected health information (PHI) that might have impacted up to 1,254 patients.

A journal supervised by a worker of Associate Dermatology was taken from her car on May 26, 2018. A robber entered the automobile as well as thieved the private journal, which saved information to assist the person with the delivery of care to patients.

The range of information stored in the journal comprised names and ages of patients, their referring doctors, short notes on patients’ medicinal record, causes for visits, and visit remarks. Patients whose protected health information has been retrieved by the robber had received medical facilities via Associated Dermatology between September 1, 2017 and May 24, 2018.

Although highly confidential details – the type that can be utilized to thieve identities – were not stored in the journal, there is a probability that the information might be abused, even though no reports have been received up to now to suggest that is the situation.

The gravest risk is the use of the information in social engineering or phishing cheats that attempt to get patients to disclose more information, for example, Social Security numbers, health insurance details, and dates of birth. Patients have been suggested to be careful in light of such cheats.

The breach has led to Associated Dermatology to adapt more safeguards to make sure all types of protected health information are protected and future occurrences of this type are alleviated.

The thievery has been made known to law enforcement authorities who are trying to find the journal. The occurrence will also be made known to all proper authorities, including the Division of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in due course.