Florida's Palm Beach County Health Department recently announced that an employee had stolen a list of at least 86 patients' names and Social Security numbers from its health centers.
"Law enforcement was able to confiscate the list in May, and further investigation showed that the names were used for fraudulent activity," writes Becker's Hospital Review's Kathleen Roney.
"We are taking every precaution possible and cooperating with law enforcement to assure all records are maintained with the utmost of security," Health Department Director Alina Alonso said in a statement.
"The Palm Beach County employee, who deputies have not yet identified or arrested, allegedly transcribed the information from digital files stored on a centralized computer system, then packaged the list to mail," writes The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ed Komenda. "But investigators confiscated the package, according to health department spokesman Tim O'Connor, before it hit the mail truck. Though the list did not contain medical, bank account, credit card or other personal information, the Social Security numbers are enough to be used in schemes such as tax return fraud."
"Former patients in one of the Health Department Health Centers who were identified on the lists have been notified by mail, department officials said," writes The Palm Beach Post's Sonja Isger. "But the department is issuing a public notice because not all of the potential victims have been reached."