Yet another breach at a Florida hospital – this time at Florida Hospital Tampa. And yes, there was inside involvement, and yes, the stolen data were used for a tax refund fraud scheme. Lauren Mayk reports:
Federal agents on Thursday arrested three people – Riverview resident Carlista Hawls, Riverview resident Tanya Cullens and a San Diego, Calif., resident – on charges of conspiracy, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Hawls and Cullens appeared before a federal judge in Tampa and were released on a signature bond.
The three filed about 225 fraudulent returns requesting more than $1.5 million in refund money, succeeding in getting $550,000, according to the complaint.
Some of the fraudulent returns used personal information from patients at Florida Hospital Tampa, where Cullens once worked while she was employed with a contract maintenance and housekeeping company. In complaint, the hospital is listed by its former name, University Community Hospital Medical Center.
According to the complaint, Cullens provided her co-conspirators with a two-page list of names and Social Security numbers from patients seen at the medical center on Jan. 17, 2012.
In a statement on Thursday, Florida Hospital Tampa said the personal information of 45 patients was compromised and that all the affected patients have been notified. The hospital also said it is cooperating with the investigation and that it in April, it implemented “electronic health records to further enhance the privacy and security of the information we are entrusted with.”
Over on Tampa Bay Times, Robbyn Mitchell reports:
Tanya Cullens of Brandon worked for Crothall Healthcare, a contractor responsible for maintenance at the hospital, when a list of ER patients’ names, Social Security numbers and other information was stolen in January, the complaint said.
Apparently, there was also some patient data stolen from the naval hospital in San Diego (Naval Medical Center San Diego, also known as Bob Wilson Naval Hospital and informally referred to as “Balboa Hospital“), but the tax preparer declined to use those data as her son was in the military. Heart-warming, huh?