Healthcare Information Security

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Mental Health Record Data Breach for Wis. Clinic

Patient privacy was possibly affected in different incidents, including a mailing error and a stolen laptop.

By Elizabeth Snell

A Wisconsin counseling center recently reported a data breach that may have exposed mental health records for approximately 500 individuals.

Data breach at Wisconsin counseling center may have included mental health records

Fox River Counseling Center had an “unsecured laptop” stolen on October 23, according to The Northwestern. Outpatient mental health records of clients who visited the center from Nov. 7, 2012, to Aug. 19, 2014 were reportedly on the computer. Wisconsin Disability Determination Bureau psychological evaluations from May 13, 2013, to Oct. 21, 2015 were also included on the device.

Clinic psychologist Dr. Scott Trippe told the news source that client names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, medical histories, mental status interviews, results of psychological testing, diagnoses and statements of work capacity were all included on the laptop.

The center did not specify how the computer was “unsecured,” but said that it was an older model and has not yet been recovered. Since the incident the center reported that it “upgraded security, including encryption software.”

Medical records found on Florida street

Medical records from Florida-based Radiology Regional Center were found scattered on a street last week.

While Chief Operating Officer Brad Reid explained to WINK News that the records were at least 10 years old, the documents reportedly included financial accounting statements, old phone bills, invoices and front desk registration information.

Reid added that the documents were supposed to be transported to the city incinerator, and that it was likely they fell from the back of the truck.

“Apparently they picked up that shipment container, I’m assuming sometime early this morning, and along the way they didn’t check the back doors on it,” Reid said.

The container used to transport documents for disposal is supposed to be double-locked, he explained, adding that Radiology Regional has a contract with the city to handle such disposals.

Radiology Regional is reportedly in the process of contacting potentially affected individuals, but it was not reported at the time how many were possibly affected by the incident.

Mailing error affects Maine health center

Some patients at Belgrade Regional Health Center may soon be receiving notification that their information was involved in a mailing error.

The Maine organization sent letters on October 21 notifying patients that a physician assistant was leaving the center, according to the Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel‎. Belgrade realized two days later that the letters had both the name of the intended letter recipient, as well as another patient.

Following an investigation, the health center determined that the error occurred because of a technical error in the mail merge process by the mailing vendor.

However, Belgrade explained that just the first and last name of the second patient were included in the letter. Social Security numbers, insurance information, PHI, financial account information or other identifying information were not included.

Moreover, the other 10 health centers that are included in the Waterville-based HealthReach Community Health Centers network were not affected by the mailing error.

“We take this incident, and patient privacy, very seriously,” HealthReach CEO Connie Coggins said in a statement.

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