Another grain of sand in the data breach dunes

It seems that reports of stolen or lost patient records are everywhere these days. Here’s a small item from the public records page of the Lancaster Eagle Gazette in Pennsylvania on June 9:

LANCASTER — Someone stole items from a 1998 Saturn SCI belong to a home health aide parked in the 1200 block of Sheridan Drive between 4:15 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Items stolen included a GPS unit, a backpack with patient files, a pocket knife and vehicle documents, according to a Lancaster police report.

The loss was not estimated.

Will the theft of those patient files be reported to HHS and become an entry in the “less than 500” list? And what will happen? Why did the home health aide leave patient records in the car overnight? Does HHS need to start handing out fines before entities get serious about security and data protection?

Yes, it was just a small item and not headline news but it reminds us that every day, all over this country, data are put at needless and avoidable risk.

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