PA: Bariatric patients’ privacy was compromised, Crozer-Keystone says

Marie McCullough reports:

The Crozer-Keystone Health System revealed Friday that about 900 bariatric-surgery patients’ privacy was breached because of an email error.

According to the health system, an employee sent an email June 20 to let bariatric-surgery program patients know about a support group. The email addresses were inadvertently placed in the “cc” or carbon-copy section of the email, rather than the “bcc” or blind carbon copy section, which made the addresses visible to all recipients.


Their statement on their web site:

Crozer-Keystone Health System (CKHS) is committed to protecting the confidentiality of our patients’ information. Regrettably, this notice is to inform you about an incident involving some of that information. 

On June 20, 2016, we learned that a CKHS employee sent an email that same day to some patients in our Crozer-Keystone Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Program regarding a support group for those patients. The email addresses were inadvertently placed in the “Cc” section of the email, instead of the “Bcc” or blind carbon copy section, making the email addresses of the recipients visible. We worked with our IT department and attempted to recall the messages, but were unsuccessful. We immediately began an investigation and determined that the email included patients’ email addresses in conjunction with the contents of the email, which may have suggested the patients’ treatment at CKHS. Social security numbers and financial information were NOT included in the email.

This incident did not affect all Crozer-Keystone Health System patients. It only affected patients who were emailed regarding the bariatric program support group.

We have no reason to believe that the information has been used in any way, but out of an abundance of caution, we mailed letters to affected patients on July 29, 2016, and established a dedicated call center to answer patients’ questions. If you believe that you are affected but do not receive a letter by August 12, 2016, please call 1-844-644-4305, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our patients. To help prevent this from happening again, we are re-enforcing education with our staff regarding email procedures and enhancing our procedures in sending group emails.

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