News Column

Hershey Medical Center Warns Patients Of Privacy Breach

June 7, 2014

Staff Report

Penn State Hershey Medical Center said it has notified 1,801 patients of a privacy breach, after it was discovered an employee had been working with protected health information from his home computer.

Officials at the hospital said in a press release Friday afternoon that results of an extensive internal investigation give no indication that any unauthorized person actually viewed or accessed the information as a result of the employee's activity.

But because the employee worked with the data on devices and systems outside the safeguards and controls of the secure information network, they cannot completely rule out the possibility.

Officials said the information is related to a type of test ordered by medical practitioners who used Penn State Hershey laboratories for testing between August 2013 and March 26.

Specifically, the files contained patient names, medical record numbers, the name of lab tests, visit dates and test results. Social Security numbers and financial information were not included.

The center learned of the possible breach April 11.

The press release states that the employee responsible for the potential breach was authorized to access and use the information because of his job at Penn State Hershey.

However, he was not permitted to upload the data on a removable storage device to view on his personal computer at home after hours. He then used his personal email account to send the updated test log to two Penn State Hershey physicians.

Officials said they're attempting to reach all 1,801 patients by personal letter. Any patient who believes they may be among those whose information was involved in this situation but has not received a letter by June 12 is encouraged to call (877) 223-3689, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Be prepared to provide the following 10-digit reference number when calling: 7045053014.

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Source: Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA)

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