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In compliance with ARRA/HITECH provisions of HIPAA, the following is a public notification of lost and/or stolen patient information in two separate unrelated incidents:
On March 28, 2012, a laptop computer owned by Titus Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Medical Services was confirmed lost during a routine patient transportation. The laptop is not believed to have been stolen, rather inadvertently left on the fender of ambulance with subsequent fall and loss during route. The data was encrypted and password protected and the computer may have been damaged and rendered inoperable. There is a possibility that personal data, including name, address and social security number, as well as a limited amount of medical data related to the services provided by the EMS department could have been accessed in the unlikely event the computer was opened, running and undamaged. The hospital is in the process of contacting all individuals whose information was known or suspected to be on the laptop and providing those individuals with further information. The hospital has also implemented additional security measures for its EMS department to ensure that all encryption technologies are fully implemented.
On March 29, 2012, an undeterminable number of x-ray films were stolen from a secured storage location and reported to local police. Thieves impersonating medical record archivists gained access to an x-ray storage facility where old x-ray films were kept. The hospital believes that the thieves were interested in obtaining the old x-ray films so that they could be destroyed and traces of silver and other precious metals could be stripped out of the films. Most of the x-ray films in storage were more than five years old, and there is no complete listing of names of patients whose records might have been taken. No social security information was contained on the films and additional security policies have been implemented.
The hospital does not believe that either of these incidents will result in any harm to any affected individual. However, due to the nature of the data losses, if you believe your information may have been included in the improperly accessed data (i.e., you have previously been transported by the hospital’s EMS department or had x-rays taken at the hospital), you are advised to consider the following:
Call the toll-free numbers of any of the three major credit bureaus (below) to place a fraud alert on your credit report: the other two bureaus will automatically be notified and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge.
Regardless of whether you place a fraud alert on your credit report, you can order a copy of your credit reports by contacting the credit reporting agencies. When you receive your credit report, examine it closely and look for signs of fraud, such as credit accounts that are not yours. Continue to monitor your credit reports to ensure an imposter has not opened an account with your personal information.
Identified patients in database will receive an additional mail notification. Concerns may be addressed to Evelyn Simon Greer RHIA, CHP, Privacy Officer at 903-577-6133 or 1-888-774-8305.