Health Information Management

Missing unencrypted laptop may contain PHI of nearly 8,000 patients

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 2, 2015

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A password-protected unencrypted laptop containing the PHI of approximately 8,000 patients was reported missing from Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, California, according to The Press Enterprise.

 
A breach notification letter sent to affected patients states that the medical center learned December 1, 2014, about the missing laptop that was used by its ophthalmology and dermatology clinics. This is the second time in less than a year that the medical center reported a missing laptop, according to The Press Enterprise.
The medical center notified law enforcement and began its own internal investigation, but was unable to find the laptop at the time of the January 29, 2015 letter. The laptop may have contained the following patient information:
  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Telephone numbers
  • Social Security numbers
  • Treating physician or department
  • Diagnosis and treatment information
  • Medical record number
  • Medical service code
  • Health insurance information
The medical center does not believe the laptop was taken in an effort to access or misuse patient information. However, it is offering identity protection alerts for affected patients, according to the letter.
 
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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