Granger Medical Clinic in Utah, serving communities southwest of Salt Lake City, has reported to federal officials a breach of protected health information affecting about 2,600 patients.
Medical appointment records scheduled for shredding simply could not be found in January, says John O’Donnell, COO of the multi-site group practice. An investigation could not determine if the records already had been shredded. Protected information in the records included first and last name, phone number and/or the reason for the appointment on a particular date or dates. The records did not contain Social Security numbers, insurance numbers or financial information.
The records were found missing on Jan. 22 and patient notification letters went out on March 21. “Because the documents do not contain any sensitive financial information, we are not aware of any additional steps you need to take to prevent any risk of harm as a result of this disclosure,” according to the letter. “However, if you receive a phone call from a health care provider who is not associated with the clinic, or any other individual or entity who informs you of the relocation of a medical practice, or who may inquire about your interest in changing health care providers, please notify us immediately through the contact information provided below.”
The clinic now will make appointment documents available only in an electronic system and says in the patient letter that its electronic security measures are more than sufficient to prevent unauthorized access to the information. “The clinic also is conducting additional training of staff and physicians regarding increased security measures to address the security of patient information generally, as well as the security of the specific information contained in the missing documents.”
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