Heart of Texas Community Health Center notifies some patients of email-related breach
PUBLIC NOTICE NOTE:
This information is only for female patients of Heart of Texas Community Health Center (formerly “Family Health Center” and hereinafter “Heart of Texas Community Health Center”) who are between the ages of 21and 65 and who were seen at a Heart of Texas Community Health Center site from September 2020-December 2020. This information DOES NOT pertain to our female patients in this age group who had a hysterectomy for non-cancer reasons. As part of Heart of Texas Community Health Center’s commitment to patient privacy, we are sending this notice of a HIPAA security breach to our female patients who meet the above-listed criteria pursuant to 45 CFR §§ 164.400-414. We take patient privacy very seriously, and it is important to us that our patients are made fully aware of a potential privacy issue. Not only have we mailed letters to specific patients affected by this issue, but also Heart of Texas Community Health Center is providing this public notice to ensure that affected patients are duly notified of this potential privacy issue. We have learned that limited information regarding your health status (your e-mail address and the fact that you were overdue for a pap smear, but not your name or any other identifying information) was sent to an e-mail account outside of the Heart of Texas Community Health Center’s Firewall. While the file was only received by individuals who were authorized to have access to that data, the method of communication did place your Protected Health Information outside of our security systems for a period of time. To our knowledge, the data was not accessed or used in any way beyond its intended use. We are keenly aware of how important your personal information is to you. As we do not believe your information was accessed by anyone, and, given the content of the file, we do not believe that you need to take any additional action at this time. We understand that this may pose an inconvenience to you. We sincerely apologize and regret that this situation has occurred. Heart of Texas Community Health Center is committed to providing quality care, including protecting your personal information. We want to assure you that we promptly followed the policies and procedures we have in place to protect your privacy in order to address this potential privacy issue. Additionally, we have taken steps to enhance security and further protect patient information with the aim of preventing this type of event in the future. If you have any questions or additional concerns, please contact Cris Houston, our Compliance and Equity Officer, at (254) 313-4202.