CA: Anesthesiologist notifies patients after PHI wound up in a trash container
Anesthesiologist Pratap S. Kurra, M.D., is notifying some of his patients whose protected health information was found to have been discarded improperly on August 8.
In a template of the notification letter uploaded to the California Attorney General’s web site, Dr. Kurra writes:
On August 9, 2016, I was informed that papers related to my practice were found in a trash container. I immediately began an investigation into the matter and determined that on August 8, 2016, the day before, billing tickets used by my practice were accidentally thrown away during my move. Fortunately, all known records were retrieved within 24 hours, and upon further investigation, it was determined to have been a singular incident.
Information on the billing tickets included the patient’s name, procedure type, surgeon, hospital, date, and time of procedure, type of anesthesia used, and difficulty of case. N0 social security numbers, dates of birth, financial information, medical insurance information, patient identification numbers, nor contact information was included.
State and federal regulators were notified of the incident and the doctor met with his staff to review the situation and proper procedures. He also notified hospital administrators, although the letter does not indicate which hospital that was.
The number of patients notified was not included in the disclosure, and the incident is not up on HHS’s public breach tool at this time.
Update: Dr. Kurra also issued the information as a press release: Attention: Patients of Pratap Kurra, M.D. from 12/1/11 to 4/30/16. That could mean a lot of patients’ billing slips were thrown out, but we’ll have to wait and see.