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Florida Department of Health Announces Medical Records Breach

April 12, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County confirmed in a press release Monday a medical record breach potentially impacting patients of its Health Centers.

Federal law enforcement officials contacted the agency in February and gave them a list of more than 1,000 people who could be at risk of identity theft due to the breach, according to a report by West Palm Beach WPTV station.

The news release from the Florida Department of Health states, “Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County is issuing a public notice of an unauthorized disclosure and/or use of protected health information pertaining to some clients of its Health Centers. Federal law enforcement officials informed the department they had obtained a list of names, birth dates, social security numbers, Medicaid numbers, phone numbers, and medical record numbers of individuals who were identified as Palm Beach County Health Department clients.”

The agency said individual notices have been mailed to all clients whose names were on the list with information on how to review their credit history and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

The WPTV report states that the Florida Health Department officials said they are advising everyone who has been a client in one of the health centers to review their credit history for any fraudulent or suspicious activities they have not authorized.

"We're asking them to take a look at their credit history. See if there's anything suspicious going on. They might have had a false tax return filed against them, they might have had a credit card pulled out on their name, anything like that,” Health Department spokesman Tim O'Connor was quoted in the story.

“The Department of Health takes its role of safeguarding client’s personal information very seriously and is keenly aware of how important this information is to everyone and is fully committed to safeguarding all confidential information. The department trains staff on the importance of safeguarding protected health information by requiring annual HIPAA and Privacy and Information Security training to all employees,” the news release stated.

 

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