Bon Secours Notifying Patients of Information Security Breach
The Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System posted this notice on Wednesday:
Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System officials announced today that they are proactively contacting former patients via letters on behalf of Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital to inform them of an electronic medical records security breach. The health system has contracted the services of Kroll Advisory Solutions to offer access to identity theft safeguards at no charge to the patients contacted. Patients may call Kroll at 1-866-599-7347 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Central Time) Monday – Friday, for additional information on how to enroll in this service. A membership number provided in the letter will be needed to activate the service.
During an April 2013 audit of a patient’s medical record, the health system identified suspicious access that prompted an investigation. The investigation revealed that two members of the patient care team accessed patients’ medical records in a manner that was inconsistent with their job functions and hospital procedures, and inconsistent with the training they received regarding appropriate access of patient medical records.
The information accessed by these employees included one or more of the following: (i) patient name; (ii) dates and times of service; (iii) provider and facility names; (iv) internal hospital medical record and account numbers, which may have included social security number; (v) date of birth; and (vi) treatment information, such as diagnosis, medications and vital signs.
The health system became concerned that the access to the medical records possibly indicated unlawful behavior and contacted law enforcement to assist with the investigation. Local and federal law enforcement agencies have formed The Peninsula Task Force to work with Bon Secours to thoroughly investigate this matter and to determine if any patient information may have been used illegally. The employees involved in this incident have been terminated.
SOURCE: Bon Secours
The breach was reported yesterday by Daily Press, who reports that 5,000 patients may be impacted. A spokesperson also informed the paper that the hospital “has been using electronic medical records since April 2012, and this was the first instance of any reportable security issues.” That may be true as far as it goes, but the Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System has had other insider breaches:
- In September 2008, we learned that an employee in Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center’s emergency room had stolen patient information to use in a fraud scheme. She had accessed patient information “frequently” over a 7-month period;
- In February 2009, we learned that an emergency room clerk at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Centre had stolen patient information for a fraud scheme; and
- In October 2012, a former employee of Bon Secours Hospital was sentenced for his role in an ID theft ring.
So maybe this was the first insider data theft involving EMR at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital, but it’s not the health system’s first insider breach.