Skip to content Skip to navigation

Hospice Breach Affects More Than 5,000 Patients

April 8, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Hospice of Alamance Caswell and LifePath Home Health have notified approximately 5,370 current and past patients, or their next of kin, about a breach of unsecured personal patient protected health information after an incident occurred at their office.

On Feb. 24, there was a break-in at their main office building in Burlington, N.C., officials said. During the break-in, three laptops were stolen that are used in connection with the provision of care to patients in their own homes. Although the patient database stored on the laptops was fully encrypted to conform to industry standards, the laptops also contained unencrypted e-mails that contained limited patient health information about a small percentage of patients. The laptops have not been recovered at this time.

According to officials, the perpetrators also had access to rooms that contain paper medical and billing records. The police investigation did not reveal any evidence that any record was touched or viewed, and no records were taken. These paper medical records contained personal information, including name, address, phone number, date of birth, Medicare or other health insurance number, prescribed medications, and full or partial Social Security numbers.

Although it does not appear that the files were viewed, Hospice has said there is no way of knowing whether the files were actually viewed. As of this date Hospice has not received any indication that the information has been accessed or used by an unauthorized individual.

“Hospice of Alamance Caswell understands the importance of safeguarding our patients’ personal information and takes that responsibility very seriously,” Peter Barcus, executive director, said in a statement. “We will do all we can to work with our patients or their loved ones whose personal information may have been compromised and help them work through the process. We sincerely regret that this incident has occurred, and we are committed to prevent future such occurrences. We appreciate our patients’ and families’ support during this time.”

Topics

News

Study: Patients with Low Health Literacy Less Likely to Use Health IT

Advancements with patient-facing health information technology tools, such as wearables, patient portals and mobile apps, have the potential to improve healthcare delivery, yet low health literacy may be a barrier to patients’ use of electronic tools.

Senate to Vote on 21st Century Cures Monday

Following the U.S. House of Representatives passing the 21st Century Cures Act earlier this week, the Senate is expected to vote on the legislation Monday, Dec. 5.

Study: Telemedicine as Effective as In-Person Treatment for Depression

Treating depression with evidence-based psychotherapy via videoconferencing can be a viable alternative to in-person treatment, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Northwell Health, Siemens Partner on Outcomes-Based Research, Population Health

Siemens Healthineers and Great Neck, N.Y.-based Northwell Health have formed a research partnership aimed at developing research projects centered on clinical effectiveness and outcomes research utilizing data analytics-based population health evidence.

Survey: Healthcare Moving to the Cloud for Patient Engagement, Analytics

A survey from HIMSS Analytics and Level 3 indicates that healthcare organizations are ready to embrace cloud technologies, citing cost savings and the more scalable platform as key motivating factors.

IBM Unveils Watson-Powered Imaging Solutions at RSNA

Merge Healthcare and Watson Health, both IBM companies, unveiled new imaging solutions utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies at the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting (RSNA 2016) in Chicago this week.