University Urology in Knoxville notifies patients because employee gave their contact info to competitor (updated)

University Urology, P.C. in Knoxville, Tennessee posted this notice on their website yesterday:

Knoxville, Tennessee – April 11, 2014. University Urology, P.C. has announced today that patient information containing patient names and addresses was provided to an outside provider not associated with University Urology, P.C. Further investigation revealed that in 2013 and early 2014, an administrative employee of University Urology compiled names and addresses of patients and provided patient names and addresses to a competing health care provider for the purpose of the competitor soliciting patient business. The information that was provided to the competitor did not include any social security numbers, financial account information, clinical information or other information that is commonly used for identity theft, but rather the information included protected information consisting of names and addresses of 1144 patients.

“We understand that any breach of protected health information is a concern for our patients. We sincerely regret this situation occurred,” said Peggy Kares, HIPAA Security Officer at University Urology, P.C.

The information consisting of patient names and addresses is considered protected health information and is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). Following its investigation, University Urology, P.C. responded by interviewing the administrative assistant involved in the breach, terminating any access of the administrative employee to University Urology, P.C. patient protected health information, terminating the administrative assistant, changing network passwords, and securing an agreement with the outside provider not associated with University Urology, P.C. to destroy all names, addresses, and patient information of any kind relating to patients of University Urology, P.C. Current employees were also retrained regarding patient privacy.

This breach was discovered following an investigation that was initiated after University Urology, P.C. began receiving telephone calls on February 13, 2014, from concerned patients stating that they received solicitation letters from a competing provider.

University Urology, P.C. is notifying by mail the patients impacted by this breach. While it appears that the information subject to the breach was to be used for patient solicitation and there is absolutely no indication that the information may be used for purposes of identity theft, patients may choose to monitor their credit card, bank, or other financial statements for signs of fraud and identity theft.

Patients who have questions can visit or contact University Urology, P.C. HIPAA Security Officer, Peggy Kares at 865-305-5329, toll free at 800-776-7623 or by U.S. Mail at 1928 Alcoa Highway, Suite B-222, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920.

h/t, News Sentinel

Update: According to their report to HHS, the incident began on March 7, 2013.

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