(update) Baptist Hospital Employee Charged After Medical Files Found
WFMY News reports the latest development in a breach mentioned previously on this blog.
… a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center employee, Linda Turner, stole hundreds, possibly thousands, of people’s medical records.They say she kept the files in the basement of a home she owns and other storage units.
Prosecutors charged Turner with felony larceny and she was fired from the hospital. She’ll be in court later this month. No one knows why she took home those medical files, including Nathaniel Cravanzola, the person who discovered them in the basement of his home.
When Cravanzola moved into the house, he never expected to find boxes of stolen medical records in the basement. They are dated from 1995 to 2006.[…]
Hospital representatives came and hauled the records away. He’ll never forget one file folder.
“I had 850 names, last names, social security and why they went to the hospital,” Cravanzola said.
And that was just in one of the folders.
Read more on digitriad.com.
There would seem to be a number of failures here that need to be investigated, including whether the hospital had any system in place to verify whether files that may have been slated for secure destruction were ever securely destroyed.
On another note, the hospital is getting some really bad press from the individual who contacted them as he claims that they told him not to go public or to law enforcement about what he found. If what he claims is true, the hospital may have some valid explanation as to why they did not want the breach disclosed – perhaps until they could recover all of the documents and assess the situation – but it will probably still strike many people as an attempted cover-up.
Will everyone whose records were found in the home be notified on the breach? Possibly not. According to the news story:
The hospital has a team of people looking through all the paperwork to see what information is out there. If they feel someone’s identity is at risk, they will contact them.
There are many people who would agree that a risk-based assessment is warranted and even necessary so that people do not become numb from too many notifications. I disagree and think that patients should be notified when a covered entity has exposed their information – even if the entity doesn’t think there’s a great risk of identity theft. Indeed, the fact that the individual who found the files read through at least some of them to see what was in there means that there has been a privacy and confidentiality breach, and I think people who have trusted the hospital should be informed so they can decide whether to continue trusting the hospital in the future or not.