Tucson Emergency Chamber Patients’ PHI Thieved from Doctor’s Automobile

Roughly 1K patients in Southern Arizona have received notices of a break of safeguarded health information after the thievery of a doctor’s record.

The record had been dumped in the automobile of a doctor who performed for Emergency Medicine Associates, which delivered ER staff for Carondelet Health Network hospices in Tucson. A burglar broke into the doctor’s automobile on or around March 25, 2016, and took away the logbook.

The doctor had used the logbook to note short notes pertaining to crisis chamber patients she had cured at Carondelet St. Mary’s and Carondelet St. Joseph’s hospices in Tucson, during October 12, 2015, to March 25, 2016.

The kinds of records noted in the logbook contain names, genders, ages, dates of birth, and medicinal record numbers together with the name of the hospital paid a visit to, dates of crisis chamber visits, and hospital ID numbers. Health insurance information and Social Security numbers were not revealed, though some patients’ medicinal disorders had been written in the logbook.

Privacy officer for Emergency Medicine Associates, Dr. Lori Levine, released a statement stating “EMA takes protecting the secrecy of its patients’ private information extremely seriously.” She also clarified that in response to the thievery, Emergency Medicine Associates has provided workforce with extra training on HIPAA Laws regarding protecting patient information.

Policies including the usage of records by doctors are now being studied in an attempt to decrease the danger of similar breaks happening in the time to come.

As just a limited volume of patient data was revealed, affected people aren’t thought to confront a great danger of suffering identity thievery and/or scam as a consequence of the PHI break although, as a protection, patients have been provided one year of credit checking services free of charge.

The break has been informed to the Division of Health and Human Services’ OCR, although at the time of publicizing the case has not been shown on the OCR break portal.

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Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a news reporter specializing in information technology cyber security. Mark has contributed to leading publications and spoken at international forums with a focus on cybersecurity threats and the importance of data privacy. Mark is a computer science graduate.