Newport News, Va.-based Riverside Health System is alerting more than 2,000 patients after an employee was arrested for identity theft and fraud. It is the second time in less than a year that the organization has had to notify patients following a major breach.
The arrested employee, hired in June 2012 and now terminated, worked at Cancer Specialists of Tidewater and has been convicted of numerous charges of fraud and theft during the past nine years with the most recent conviction in 2013, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports. In the new charges, she presently faces 13 counts.
A Riverside Health spokesperson tells Health Data Management that the organization only requires background checks on licensed employees while others are randomly screened. The arrested employee was not licensed and now expanding the background check policy is being considered. The spokesperson says the previous crimes were committed in another state and may not have come up in a check, but the organization knows it needs to enhance its policies.
Now, Riverside Health is notifying all patients who came to the practice since the employee was hired. The organization is offering affected patients one year of paid credit and identity protection services.
The incident is the second major breach for Riverside Health System. The organization in late 2013 offered credit and identity protection services to about 919 patients after discovering a licensed professional nurse had inappropriately accessed their electronic health records during the past four years.
That breach was found during a random audit in November and the organization contracted with security vendor Fair Warning for automated audit technology to flag inappropriate access or use of data in the electronic health records system. The employee responsible for the most recent breach did not have access to EHR data, but Riverside Health is now expanding audit capabilities.
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