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

OIG Identifies Security Vulnerabilities in CMS’s Wireless Networks

August 24, 2016
A penetration test of data centers operated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found vulnerabilities in security controls over its wireless networks.

Survey: CIOs Prioritize Enterprise Imaging Strategies, but Interoperability Remains Core Challenge

August 24, 2016
Although imaging has now evolved into a core responsibility for an organization’s IT staff, more than half of responding CIOs said they cannot yet move imaging data between systems and applications, according to a new survey of CHIME members.

Sansum Clinic Recognized for Reaching HIMSS Stage 6 for Ambulatory EHR

August 23, 2016
Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Sansum Clinic has been recognized for achieving Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption Model, or EMRAM, as designated by HIMSS Analytics.

ONC Releases 2017 Draft Interoperability Standards Advisory

August 23, 2016
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has issued its draft Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) for 2017 for public comment.

Survey: Hospital IT Execs Fearful of Mobile Security Threats

August 23, 2016
More than eight in 10 (82 percent) hospitals surveyed by Spyglass Consulting Group expressed grave concerns about their ability to support and protect mobile devices, patient data, and the hospital’s technology infrastructure as a result of the growing threat of cybersecurity attacks.

CommonWell Members Give Patients Access to their Health Data

August 23, 2016
The CommonWell Health Alliance announced today that members will be giving patients access to their health data for the first time via the CommonWell network.

Southern California Health Centers Receive $1.5 Million HHS Grant to Improve Health IT Adoption

August 22, 2016
Health Centers Partners of Southern California, a consortium of community health centers in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties, received a $1.5 million federal grant to improve patient care through the use of technology.

HHS Delivers Telehealth Progress Report to Congress

August 22, 2016
Following up on a Congressional request, HHS has issued a report providing an update on the department’s current telehealth efforts, largely focusing on how delivery system reform initiatives may increase its use.

Apple Has Acquired Personal Health Data Startup Gliimpse

August 22, 2016
Apple has expanded its investment in digital health with the acquisition of personal health data startup Gliimpse, which occurred earlier this year, according to Fast Company reports.

Mayo Clinic Expands Emergency Telemedicine Services

August 22, 2016
Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic is implementing a new telemedicine strategy and will converge its emergency telemedicine practice in order to provide scalable, standardized services across its nationwide telemedicine enterprise.

OCR Announces Initiative to Focus Investigations on Smaller Data Breaches

August 22, 2016
As healthcare organizations of all sizes are impacted by data theft, ransomware and privacy violations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) plans to devote more resources to investigating smaller breaches.

CMS to End ICD-10 Grace Period on October 1

August 22, 2016
After announcing last year that it would not deny Medicare physician claims for 12 months as long as the ICD-10 code was “from the right family,” the CMS has said that the grace period for healthcare providers will expire on Oct.1, 2016.

Study: Socioeconomic Digital Divide Remains in Personal Health Record Use

August 19, 2016
More patients are using personal health records (PHRs), yet there are socioeconomic disparities in the adoption of PHRs and patient portals to access health records, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

NIH Survey Respondents Give Positive Feedback to Precision Medicine Cohort Program

August 19, 2016
A majority of respondents to a recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) survey said they would likely participate in the NIH's Precision Medicine cohort program.

HHS Awards $100 Million to Improve Health Center Quality

August 19, 2016
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded more than $100 million in grants to 1,304 health centers to invest in healthcare quality improvement efforts that engages patients and improves care coordination.

Pages