2,700 VCU Health Systems patients’ medical records improperly viewed

Photo Credit: VCU News.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — VCU Health Systems is notifying about 2,700 people that their or their children’s electronic medical records were recently accessed inappropriately.

In a press release, VCU Health Systems said that there is no indication that the private health information has been or will be used for any unintended purposes.

The organization became aware of the breach Jan. 10 when an unusual pattern of accessing electronic medical records was detected. As part of the organization’s partnership with physicians in the community who are not employed by VCU Health System, access is given to those practices so that medical information can be shared.

Access is also provided to contracted vendors who provide medical equipment to patients for continuity of care upon their discharge from the hospital.

After investigating, VCU confirmed that employees of some community physician groups and an employee of a contracted vendor accessed information about patients “without legitimate business reasons.”

As a result, the employers have terminated those employees and VCU has instituted new safeguards to prevent inappropriate access to the electronic medical record system.

The inappropriate access happened some time between Jan. 3, 2014 and Jan. 10, 2017.

The investigation shows that the electronic medical records were viewed without malicious intent and no information was inappropriately used.

Information that may have been viewed includes the patient’s full name, home address, date of birth, medical record number, healthcare provider, visit dates, health insurance information and other medical information. In some instances, social security numbers may also have been viewed.

The VCU Health System is staffing a toll-free response line for patient questions at 844-308-6636. The health system also is providing one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to assist patients whose social security numbers were viewable. Instructions have been provided to all patients for placing a fraud alert, freezing a credit file, obtaining a free credit report and protecting health information.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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