Business associate breach hits healthcare organizations

More hospitals are reporting that they have suffered a breach of protected health information after an employee working for a contractor was found to have downloaded a range of patient demographic information without authorization.

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COURTESY OF NEW MEXICO HEART INSTITUTE New Mexico Heart Institute offers comprehensive cardiovascular health care. The institute has formed a new partnership with ABQ Health Partners to better coordinate patient care. rrayburn@abqjournal.com Fri May 01 13:55:22 -0600 2015 1430510117 FILENAME: 191639.jpg

Data the employee downloaded to a flash drive included patient names, birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, diagnoses, medications, as well as patient identification numbers and physician names, among other information.

Healthcare organizations are finding out about the breach from Ambucor Health Solutions, a business associate that offers contracted cardiac and labor monitoring services. The number of affected providers and patients is not yet publicly known.

However, organizations that have notified patients of the breach include Carolina Cardiology Consultants in Greenville, S.C.; New Mexico Heart Institute in Albuquerque; Conemaugh Physician Group Cardiology in Johnstown, Penn.; Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass.; and Cleveland Clinic Akron General, among others.

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A representative of Ambucor was not immediately available for comment.

While noting that no data appears to have been misused, Ambucor is offering affected patients one year of identity theft protection. The vendor is a subsidiary of ScottCare Corp.

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