Carolina Digestive Health Associates, with nine locations serving the greater Charlotte, N.C., metropolitan area, recently reported a breach of protected health information at one of its locations.
Now, the provider organization is assessing whether patient information from its other locations also could have been affected. The local ABC-TV station serving Charlotte is quoting police officials as saying the incursion could be tied to an identity theft ring.
On January 10, CDHA learned from local police that an employee at one location had stolen information on about 100 patients and gave the information to an associate with a history of identity theft.
The organization has conducted an investigation to identify affected patients and is offering one year of identity theft protection services from ID Experts to individuals known to have been affected by the breach.
The employee was terminated, and investigations into the breach continue. “In addition, CDHA has conducted its own investigation to identify any other patient records the employee may have accessed and what information was contained in those records,” according to a statement sent to local media.
Having delayed patient notifications at the request of police until the investigation was complete, CDHA now is sending notification letters, along with tips on protecting personal information.
“CDHA takes the security of all patient information very seriously and is taking steps to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future, including restricting employee access to patients’ sensitive information, and increasing the monitoring and auditing of access to patient records,” the organization told patients. “CDHA deeply regrets any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause.”
Carolina Digestive Health Associates declined to provide further details or issue any other statement about the data breach.
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