NY Hospital Data Theft May Affect Records of 1.7 Million

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 15, 2011

With the recent theft of an electronic medical records file now confirmed, New York City officials have begun the arduous process of notifying 1.7 million patients, staff, contractors, vendors and others who were treated or who provided services during the past 20 years at two public hospitals in the Bronx.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation said the theft could endanger the personal information of basically anyone who shared personal information with Jacobi Medical Center, North Central Bronx Hospital, or their offsite clinics, which comprise the North Bronx Healthcare Network.

The stolen electronic records contained personal information, protected health information, or personally identifiable employee medical information. Personal information can include social security numbers, names, addresses, and other information that may be used to identify individuals. PHI can include personal information and patients' medical histories. PIEMI can include personal information and employees' health information.

HHC said in a statement that it “values and protects individuals' privacy and confidentiality and deeply regrets any inconvenience and concern this may create for patients, staff and others affected. The loss of this data occurred through the negligence of a contracted firm that specializes in the secure transport and storage of sensitive data.”

There is no evidence that the data have been inappropriately accessed or misused, HHC said. However, HHC is providing information and one year of free credit monitoring services to anyone who may be worried about possible identity theft. 

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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