Medical Center Reports Worker Removed About 1,500 Patient Records
A mailroom employee at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center has been fired for removing approximately 1,500 patient records from the hospital over the course of about a year, the San Mateo Daily Journal reports (Durand, San Mateo Daily Journal, 8/2).
The worker removed the documents between November 2009 and September 2010. The hospital learned of the breach in June when a relative of the employee found the records and returned them to the hospital.
Details of Incident
The records contained patient names and results of diagnostic tests (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/2).
The records also included other registration information, according to Mills-Peninsula spokesperson Margie O'Clair.
Fifteen of the documents included Social Security numbers and home addresses.
Most of the documents were meant eventually to be delivered to physician offices. However, O'Clair noted that physicians have access to patient records online and via fax (Melvin, San Jose Mercury News, 8/1).
O'Clair said the health system does not believe the records were "used for anything," adding, "We believe they just sat in a box."
Patients whose records were taken have been notified by mail.
Mills-Peninsula is offering one year of no-cost credit monitoring and identity protection to patients affected by the incident (San Mateo Daily Journal, 8/2).
The hospital also has reported the incident to Burlingame police (San Jose Mercury News, 8/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.