Friday, October 28, 2011

Leak of Emory patient records could affect thousands

Nine Emory Healthcare patients have become victims of identity theft in a case that could affect the records of thousands, Channel 2 Action News reported Monday.

The hospital bills of 32 patients at Emory’s orthopedic clinic were taken, and the Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other confidential information were used to file fraudulent tax returns in nine patients’ names, the hospital confirmed.

"Because of the heightened level of importance Emory Healthcare places on the protection of private patient data, we have taken the additional measure of notifying by letter more than 7,300 other patients of this situation -– although we have no reason to believe any of these individuals have been impacted in any way," Emory spokesman Lance Skelley said in a prepared statement.

In September, Emory sent a letter out to about 7,000 people -- all of the orthopedic clinic patients from 2008 -- notifying them about the breach of security. The letter advised patients to be vigilant about monitoring their credit and personal data.

"This issue is in no way a breach of Emory’s electronic medical records system, but rather a human failure to properly follow Emory Healthcare’s prescribed duties and responsibilities for protecting private patient information," Skelley said in the prepared statement.

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