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Hospital Beefs Up Record Protection

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CBS Detroit (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSDetroit.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSDetroit.com/Health

DETROIT (WWJ) – A local hospital wants to make sure there isn’t another security breach involving patients personal health information.

Henry Ford Health Systems spokesman David Olejarz said there was a breach on January 31s when an employee lost a flash drive storing health information belonging to more than 2,700 patients. And he said, the flash drive was not encrypted as required by the health system.

The information was related to patients tested for a urinary tract infection between July 2010 and October 2010 at Henry Ford Hospital.

“Information contained on the flash drive included some but now all the following: the patients’ names, their medical record, the test that was ordered, the test result, the test date, and testing location. At no point was the patient’s social security number or health insurance identification number stored on the flash drive,” said Olejarz.

Henry Ford Health Systems says the hospital is taking strong measures to prevent any future breaches of patients unsecured personal information.

“We are going to be embarking on eliminating all encrypted electronic devices throughout our health system. We’re also going to be strengthening our policy to zero tolerance for any situation involving personal health information that is left unsecured on electronic devices,” Olejarz said.

The hospital is now sending out letters notifying affected patients and letting them know how they can sign up for free identity monitoring for one year.

 The security lapse happened on January 31, but wasn’t uncovered until early February. So why did it take so long to let the affected patients know?

“Once we found out about this on February 8th, we launched an investigation to determine what happened and why it happened. And then once we did that, there’s a succession of things we need to do on our end in order to gather information and then be able to notify our patients,” said Olejarz.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call the toll-free number 1 (877) 835-0549 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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