CO: Lasair Aesthetic Health notifying patients after manager took information after resigning
According to HHS’s breach tool, 1,835 patients were notified of this incident. I wonder what the former employee intended to do with the stolen information.
Notice to Lasair Aesthetic Health patients regarding Privacy Incident
Lasair Aesthetic Health, P.C. (“Lasair”) is notifying patients about an unauthorized acquisition of some patients’ personal health information. We deeply regret this incident occurred. Lasair is committed to safeguarding and protecting patients’ privacy.
On May 12, 2016, we discovered that one of our former managers, after resigning, took patient identifying information by forwarding certain documents including patient lists to her personal email account. This acquisition of our patients’ protected health information (PHI) was a violation of Lasair’s policies and of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Lasair has learned through its investigation that on May 11, 2016, the former employee secretly used her work email account through her mobile phone to forward to her personal email address certain documents and lists containing patient PHI.
The type of information contained in the records that the former employee took included full names and the amount patients spent or credits with Lasair during 2015. For a couple of patients the type of information also included treatment results including photographic images without faces showing. The information taken did NOT include any social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, credit card or bank account information.
We are committed to safeguarding our patients’ personal information and have taken immediate steps to enhance the protective measures that were in place prior to this incident. We have been investigating the incident. Lasair has demanded that the former employee not use and destroy the documents and patient information she took. The former employee informed Lasair that the information was deleted. We are seeking an injunction to ensure there will be no use or disclosure of the information. Additionally, Lasair reported this incident to law enforcement for further investigation.
As a result of this event, Lasair is looking at ways to upgrade its information technology system to determine if there are reasonable ways to further restrict the ability to access, copy, or move files from Lasair’s network. We are investigating further development of tools we may use to monitor our network for suspicious activity. We are conducting further analysis of our privacy and security safeguards to identify any additional ways we may strengthen the protection of our patients’ information. Additionally, Lasair is updating its privacy policies and procedures and will require all staff to review and be instructed on the updated policies and procedures.
Although no credit card or bank account information, addresses, dates of birth, or social security numbers were taken, we want to make all patients aware of steps they may take to guard against any potential harm. As a general precaution, we recommend that patients regularly review and closely monitor their financial account statements. Although Lasair does not keep credit card numbers on record, we recommend that our patients review their credit card charges routinely. If patients identify any charges on their credit or debit cards, or withdrawals from their bank accounts that they did not authorize, they should contact their bank or credit card company immediately and follow their procedures to freeze transactions or accounts, obtain new cards, and/or to challenge any unauthorized purchases.
Lasair has partnered with data breach services company, Epiq, to provide further information about this incident. Lasair is mailing notice letters to involved patients on July 11. Any individuals who believe their information may have been included are encouraged to contact Epiq with any questions by calling toll free 1-888-509-2587. The toll-free line is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time. We very much regret that this incident occurred. Please call 1-888-509-2587 if you need additional information.