GA: Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital notifying home health patients their data may have been stolen for tax fraud

Fox31 in Georgia reports:

In a press release issued by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, they are alerting the public that patient information could be compromised.

The release states that on April 9th, Phoebe Putney learned from law enforcement that a now former employee improperly accessed patient information with the intent to process fraudulent tax returns.

The following investigation determined that some patient names, dates of birth, and social security numbers were potentially accessed some time between June 2010 and April 2012. Phoebe also added that no medical records were accessed or taken and that no medical information had been lost.

Read more on Fox31.

The hospital has posted a substitute notice to home health patients on its web site:

An Important Notice to Phoebe Putney Home Health Care Patients Regarding Confidentiality of Patient Information

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (“PPMH”) takes our obligation to protect our patients’ personal health information seriously.

On April 9, 2012, PPMH learned from law enforcement officials that a now former employee improperly accessed patient information with the intent to file fraudulent tax returns. PPMH immediately began an internal investigation to determine the information accessed by the former employee. The former employee may have accessed some patients’ names, dates of birth, and social security numbers some time between June 2010 and April 2012. No medical records were taken, and no medical information has been lost.

We deeply regret any concerns and inconvenience this has caused our patients. We have reinforced and refined our privacy policies and staff procedures for handling patient information with care to prevent such an incident from happening in the future.

This affected some Phoebe Home Health patients who were treated between July 2005 and April 2012. As a precaution, we began notifying the affected patients by mail on May 24, 2012. If you believe you may be affected but did not receive a letter by June 8, 2012, please do not hesitate to call 1-855-770-0002 Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time and enter the reference code 7767052412 when prompted.

I’d really like to know how they are going to prevent a recurrence of this type of problem, which we’ve seen occur in many hospitals.

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