Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tax Refunds Fraud Use Medical Records Stolen from Texas Hospital

Criminals stole tax refunds by filing false tax returns using information stolen from medical records at a Houston area hospital.

The hospital confirmed an employee had inappropriately accessed 741 patients' medical records. The employee was subsequently terminated for unrelated reasons and the hospital did not know about his violation of patient privacy until notified by the police.
"At the time of the employee’s termination, it was unknown by [the] Hospital that the employee had engaged in the unauthorized release of patients’ protected information. The hospital was alerted about this occurrence by the police authority."
- Hospital Chief Compliance Officer
The employee was an intake coordinator who misused her legitimate access to patients’ personal information inappropriately between March 15 to Aug. 18, 2011. The hospital only learned of the medical data theft 7 months later in April, 2012.

The type of information in the possession of the former employee includes forms with personal information such as name, address, date of birth and social security number along with insurance information.
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Sources:
(a) PI Breach - IntraCare North Hospital website
(b) Houston-area hospital warns patients about privacy breach - Houston Chronicle, May 8, 2012

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