Medical records are very valuable and when they get into the wrong hands, they can be used to steal a person's identity and wreak havoc on unsuspecting victims. Whether a rogue employee or a potential systematic problem is the cause, health care institutions have been plagued with data theft that leaves patients vulnerable.
Colorado Hospital Suffers Third Records Theft Since 2008
The medical records of at least nine Boulder Community Health patients were stolen and then mailed to them by an anonymous source, the Daily Camera reports. This is the third records breach at the hospital since 2008.
Along with the records, patients received a note from the anonymous mailer that read: "The records that have been returned to you are to demonstrate the easy access that the hospital and their partners provide for someone with bad motives."
Photos of unsecured trash bins allegedly containing medical records were included in the package victims received. The hospital's 2010 breach of 79 patient records involved unsecured recycling bins, according to the Daily Camera.
The letter went on to criticize the hospital administration, saying it focused on fundraising and construction while ignoring patient privacy.
There are likely more than just the nine identified victims, as the first names, last initials and birth month of 334 people are printed on the other side of the letter. One of the confirmed victims is David Spraggs, a sergeant with the Boulder Police Department.
The hospital is currently working with the Boulder Police to investigate the breach.
NY Nurse Charged with Stealing Patient Identities
A nurse and her boyfriend are accused of stealing patient identities for use in credit card and phony check scams, according to a Times Union report.
Police found personal information for at least 50 patients at the home of Suzette Guzman-Moore, a nurse with Albany Medical Center Hospital since 2010, and her boyfriend, Emmett Woods.
Other information linked to patient identities, including confidential data from the county coroner's office, was discovered along with computers that have yet to be analyzed for a connection to identity theft. Authorities are investigating whether this alleged theft also extends to other medical facilities Guzman-Moore worked at in the past.
Guzman-Moore does not have a felony record, but the Times Union says court records show Woods served six months in prison for a forged checks scheme.
Florida Woman Faces Decades in Prison for Stealing Patient IDs
A Florida surgical center employee was the last to plead guilty in an ID theft and tax fraud scheme targeting patients, The Orlando Sentinel reports.
While employed at Villages Endoscopy & Surgical Center, Eltonya Wiley was part of a six-person crime ring that stole at least 92 patient identities and used them to file fake tax returns and obtain fraudulent credit cards.
Wiley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. At her June 6 sentencing, she faces a maximum of 20 years for each count related to wire fraud and a mandatory two years for the identity theft charge.
Alabama Hospital Sued for 8-month Data Breach
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Flowers Hospital related to a data breach that lasted eight months, The Dothan Eagle reports.
The lawsuit alleges the hospital failed to properly safeguard patient information and put patients at risk for identity theft.
In April, the hospital sent a letter to patients informing them of the breach, which spanned from June 2013 until February 2014. The letter also stated that the employee believed responsible had been fired. That employee, Kamarian Millender, was arrested and charged with trafficking in stolen IDs.
In addition to financial damages, the suit also seeks full disclosure from the hospital of the extent of the breach.