Greenwood Leflore Hospital notifies patients whose old x-rays were stolen

Greenwood Leflore Hospital in Greenwood, Mississippi has notified 3,750 patients after five bins of old x-rays with limited patient information was stolen from hospital grounds. From the notice posted on their website:

Notice to Patients of X-Ray Films Made in 2007 or Earlier That Were Removed from the Hospital Without Authorization

We are providing this notice as part of Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s commitment to patient privacy. We take patient privacy very seriously, and it is important to us that you are made fully aware of a potential privacy issue. Although there is a very low risk to patients, we want to let the public know about a recent incident that occurred on the Greenwood Leflore Hospital campus which resulted in limited patient protected health information (PHI) being released.

On February 24, 2014, Greenwood Leflore Hospital discovered that five containers of x-ray film were removed from the hospital premises without authorization. Each container held approximately 750 pieces of x-ray film. The film contains limited information that includes name, date of birth, x-ray number, the x-ray image and the hospital’s name. There was no financial information or other sensitive information such as Social Security number included on these films. All the film at issue is from 2007 or earlier, and was due to be destroyed in compliance with state law pursuant to Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s document retention policy.

Greenwood Leflore Hospital has reported this incident to the police and a suspect has been arrested. We believe the motive for the suspect’s actions was to obtain the recyclable material and not for the limited information the xray film contained. In order for the recyclable material to be extracted, the films must go through a process which ultimately destroys them. While Greenwood Leflore Hospital pursued all available avenues to recover the containers of film removed from the hospital without authorization, Greenwood Leflore Hospital currently believes the film has been destroyed. Greenwood Leflore Hospital is also reviewing its security policies and training procedures to prevent any similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Because the only identifiable patient information contained on the film consists of the x-ray image, xray number, patient name, date of birth and the hospital’s name, we believe the risk of identity theft is low.

However, if you are concerned about potential identity theft, we recommend that you contact a major credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening accounts in your name.

We understand that this may pose an inconvenience to you. We sincerely apologize and regret that this situation has occurred. Greenwood Leflore Hospital is committed to providing quality care, including protecting your personal information, and we want to assure you that we have policies and procedures in place to protect your privacy.

If you have any questions or would like to learn whether your protected health information may have been included in the x-ray films removed from the hospital without authorization, please call our toll-free telephone number at 1-844-405-6939

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