Starting March 29, the hospital was contacted by patients who were mailed copies of their own Protected Health Information (PHI) by an anonymous source. An accompanying letter claimed that the PHI was stolen from recycling bins.
During its investigation into those stolen documents, the hospital identified 79 patients whose personal information was exposed. All those patients were notified. This information theft is confined to patients of Family Medical Associates in Lafayette and Buffalo Ridge Medical Associates in Broomfield.
There was no exposure of detailed information on any patient’s medical condition. In most cases, the exposed information consisted of the patient’s name, address, Social Security number, emergency contact, insurance plan and limited medical information.
Because the affected patients may have been exposed to an increased potential for identity theft, the hospital hired Kroll Inc., the world’s leading risk consulting company, to work with them to determine if their PHI had actually been misused.
To date, there is no evidence of any misuse. Kroll’s identity protection and restoration services are being provided free of charge to these patients.
As a next step, the hospital is sending advisory letters to 447 patients of Family Medical Associates and Buffalo Ridge Medical Associates who had services at those clinics at the same time as the affected patients. While we do not have any evidence that the personal information of these patients was stolen, we wanted to inform them about this situation and offer them the same level of identity protection provided to those whose personal information was exposed through this information theft.
Kroll’s Fraud Solutions Team has experience in helping people who have experienced the unintentional exposure of confidential data. The services available to concerned patients include:
Enhanced Identity Theft Consultation and Restoration – Licensed investigators who understand the problems surrounding identity theft are available to offer their expertise. If it is determined that a patient’s name or credit has been affected by this incident, these investigators will help restore the person’s identity and credit to pre-theft status.
Current Credit Report – Kroll can provide an up-to-date credit report. Patients who suspect fraudulent activity can contact Kroll’s licensed investigators.
Continuous Credit Monitoring – Concerned patients can take advantage of a credit monitoring service that uses data from all three major national credit repositories.
These patients can access these services free of charge.
The hospital has notified the police and the federal Office of Civil Rights about this theft.
We have taken action to improve the security of the hospital’s recycling system. We switched to upgraded storage bins that are self-locking. We have re-educated employees involved in the recycling process to ensure they are aware of the hospital’s policies in this area. Our management team is doing spot checks of the recycling system to ensure that the hospital’s policies are being followed.
An investigation is underway to try to identify the person or persons responsible for this theft.
The hospital has established a telephone hotline to answer questions from concerned patients -- 720-854-7373.
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