Anthony Vecchione reports:
Summit Medical Group said Monday it is looking into an incident of a possible security leak of patient data.
SMG said it became aware of the potential unauthorized disclosure of patient medical records Sept. 5 when management and privacy office personnel were notified a notebook maintained by a medical assistant in the dermatology office in Berkeley Heights was misplaced and was not recovered.
In a statement, SMG said that it launched an investigation into the incident and determined that the notebook was maintained by the medical assistant to track all of the patients to whom she provided health care services.
The employee kept the notebook at the facility and reported that the book never left the dermatology office, according to SMG.
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The following is SMG’s press release, issued November 2:
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J., Nov. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Summit Medical Group (“SMG”) is taking action after discovering an isolated incident that may impact the security of information relating to a limited number of SMG patients.
On or around September 5, 2018, SMG became aware of the potential unauthorized disclosure of patient medical records when SMG management and Privacy Office were notified that a notebook maintained by a medical assistant in the dermatology office at Berkeley Heights was misplaced and unable to be recovered. SMG immediately launched an investigation into this incident, and it was determined that the notebook was maintained by the medical assistant to track all of the patients to whom she provided health care services, to assist her with following up with patients. The employee kept the notebook at the facility and reported that the book never left the dermatology office. This cataloging of the information in the notebook began around January 12, 2018 and included information pertaining to all patients seen by the employee through September 5, 2018, when the employee could not locate the notebook. Management and the Privacy Office conducted interviews of employees, reviewed security footage, and searched the office, but found no trace nor evidence of the notebook.
While the information present in the notebook varies by individual, SMG’s investigation determined that the information that may have been affected includes: name, date of birth, address, home telephone number, insurance policy number, Medicare ID (which can also be a patient’s Social Security Number), and treatment information.
While SMG has no evidence that any information involved in this incident has been subject to actual or attempted misuse, SMG is mailing notice letters to individuals who may have been affected by this incident. SMG is also encouraging potentially impacted individuals to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud, to review account statements and explanations of benefits, and to monitor credit reports and explanation of benefits forms for suspicious activity and to detect errors.
SMG is providing potentially impacted individuals information on obtaining a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, calling 877-322-8228, or contacting the three major credit bureaus directly at: Equifax, P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta, GA, 30348, 800-525-6285, www.equifax.com; Experian, P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, 888-397-3742, www.experian.com; TransUnion, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016, 800-680-7289, www.transunion.com.
Potentially impacted individuals may also find information regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes and the steps they may take to protect their information by contacting the credit bureaus, the Federal Trade Commission or their state Attorney General. The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.identitytheft.gov; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement or the individual’s state Attorney General. SMG will be providing notice of this incident to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as required state regulators.
SMG understands that patients may have questions about this incident that are not addressed in this release. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to SMG’s Patient Relations Department via [email protected] or 908-977-9499 Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm ET, excluding national holidays.
About Summit Medical Group
Recognized as New Jersey’s premier multispecialty medical group, Summit Medical Group has more than 80 locations in seven northern New Jersey counties. Summit Medical Group’s 800+ practitioners cover more than 80 medical specialties and services, with a focus on delivering patient-centered and coordinated care. Summit Medical Group’s unique care model recently expanded nationally with the founding of Summit Medical Group Oregon – BMC Total Care and Summit Medical Group Arizona. Additionally, Summit Medical Group is the only healthcare provider in northern New Jersey to offer patients access to the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Network® through Summit Medical Group MD Anderson Cancer Center. For more information, visit www.summitmedicalgroup.com.
SOURCE Summit Medical Group