The Chautauqua Center notifies patients of breach; changes EMR provider

The Chautauqua Center (TCC) in New York has disclosed a HIPAA breach by a business associate. The business associate’s error resulted in the protected health information of 747 physical and occupational therapy patients being made accessible to other covered entities.

According to their notification letter to those affected, the breach occurred on December 22nd at WebPT. WebPT provides electronic medical records (EMR) services for Chautauqua Physical and Occupational Therapy.

In a letter sent to TCC dated January 13, but received on or about January 20, WebPT explained that the error occurred during an upgrade. In response, WebPT disabled access to the report within 19 hours of exposure, changed their processes for when releases are made, retrained staff, and requested statements from the clinics that may have accessed the data to confirm no use or disclosure of the protected health information.

The types of information exposed in the incident included case name and creation date; initial evaluation clinic notes; date last seen and referral date; patient name; primary insurance provider; primary treatment clinic; referring physician and/or physician group; primary diagnosis and related cause information; secondary insurance information; and total visit count for the case.

In addition to notifying patients and regulators, TCC’s Chautauqua Physical and Occupational Therapy responded to the incident by ending its use of WebPT and switching EMR providers to Athenahealth’s EMR program (athenaOne).

DataBreaches sent an email inquiry to TCC asking whether they terminated use of WebPT because of the breach, because it took about a month to be notified, or for some other reason.  DataBreaches also sent an inquiry to WebPT asking how many other clients had their patients’ protected health information accidentally exposed to other covered entities.

No replies were immediately received from either entity. This post will be updated if replies are received.

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