Health Information Management

Identity thieves steal PHI of 1,400 patients

HIM-HIPAA Insider, December 1, 2014

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Two thieves were recently indicted for using the stolen PHI of approximately 1,400 Detroit hospital patients to receive nearly $500,000 in false tax returns, according to The Detroit News.

 
Markitta Washington, 29, of Hampton, Georgia, allegedly obtained the PHI without authorization while working for Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and DMC Harper Hospital in Detroit. Washington shared a home with Martez Lear, 29, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, who was also indicted for identity theft crimes. A search of the home uncovered the names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers of approximately 1,400 patients, according to The Detroit News.
 
Washington and Lear allegedly filed false returns for tax years 2011 and 2012 using the stolen information of at least 305 people, which resulted in them receiving approximately $489,000. Authorities also discovered re-encoded credit cards and gift cards during their search. The theft affected 141 patients who received impatient neurology or outpatient radiology services at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2013. Both Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital and DMC Harper Hospital are offering credit protection and monitoring for affected patients, according to The Detroit News.
 
This article originally appeared on HCPro’s HIPAA Update blog. Stay up to date on all things HIPAA by signing up for e-mail updates from this blog.



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