In April 2011, police arrested a Georgia woman who was part of a larger identity fraud ring. Among other items, they recovered hospital bills of 32 patients from Emory Healthcare's orthopaedic clinic.
The bills included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, and nine of those patients have become victims of identity theft, Atlanta television station WSB recently reported. WSB also reported that investigators found that in 2008 an Emory Healthcare clerk, since fired, printed off the bills of more than 3,000 patients of the orthopaedic clinic.
Now, Emory Healthcare has notified more than 7,300 patients treated at the clinic during 2008 of the possibility of their protected information being breached, "although we have no reason to believe any of these individuals have been impacted in any way." Emory is providing fraud and identity protection services to all affected patients.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that it's not clear if these cases of identity theft are related to a breach the newspaper reported in February, when identifications of 77 Emory patients had been stolen and another 2,400 patients were notified.
Emory Healthcare has issued a statement explaining the breach and the decision to notify all patients treated at the orthopaedics clinic during 2008. The delivery system added: "This issue is in no way a breach of Emory's electronic medical records system, but rather a human failure to properly follow Emory Healthcare's prescribed duties and responsibilities for protecting private patient information."
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