University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority notifies patients of mailing error

UW Health announced today that it is sending letters to certain patients about a privacy incident. UW Health learned on August 3, 2016, that patient satisfaction surveys were addressed “To the parents or guardians [patient’s name]” of some adult patients and mailed between July 29, 2016, and August 2, 2016. The enclosed cover letter was accurately addressed to the patient, and included the name of the healthcare provider who treated the patient.

UW Health determined that the cause was an improperly formatted computer file and quickly prevented any further misaddressed mailings from being sent to patients.

This incident did not affect all UW Health patients, only some patients who came to one of UW Health facilities or clinics and received the letter.

In response to this incident, UW Health has re-educated staff involved in order to prevent this from happening again in the future. More information: Notice to Patients Regarding Mis-Addressed Patient Satisfaction Surveys
Date Published: 09/30/2016

The corresponding notice to patients:

Notice to Patients Regarding Mis-Addressed Patient Satisfaction Surveys

UW Health is committed to maintaining the privacy and security of the patient information we maintain. Regrettably, this notice is regarding a recent mailing error we discovered after sending out patient satisfaction surveys to UW Health patients.

Between July 29, 2016, and August 2, 2016, we mailed patient satisfaction surveys to UW Health patients who had recently received care at our facilities and clinics. On August 3, 2016, we became aware that the survey and cover letter were mailed to the patient in an envelope mistakenly addressed with the prefix: “To the parent or guardian of [patient’s name],” rather than directly to the patientThe enclosed cover letter was accurately addressed to the patient, and included the name of the healthcare provider that treated the patient. We were able to determine that the cause was an improperly formatted computer file and quickly prevented any further misaddressed mailings from being sent to our patients.

This did not affect all patients, only some patients who came to one of our facilities or clinics and received the letter.

UW Health began mailing letters to affected patients on September 30, 2016, and has established a dedicated call center to answer any questions they may have. If you believe you are affected but do not receive a letter by October 15, 2016, please call 1-844-607-1694 between 8am and 8pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

We apologize for the error and regret any confusion or concern it may have caused. To help prevent something like this from happening in the future we have re-educated the staff involved.
Date Published: 09/30/2016

According to their report to HHS, which was just posted today by HHS, there were 6,923 patients notified of the error.

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