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The Press Democrat reports that a thumb drive containing almost 33,702 patients' health records was stolen last week from a "zipped container" inside an unlocked locker at a former Redwood Regional Medical Group imaging center in Santa Rosa, Calif. (h/t PHIprivacy.net).
The drive contained information on patients who received x-rays at the imaging center between February 2, 2009 and May 13, 2014, including those patients' names, genders, medical record numbers, birthdates, dates and times of service, areas of body x-rayed, x-ray technologists' names, and radiation levels.
St. Joseph Health took over the imaging center from Redwood Regional Medical Group on April 1, 2014. The health records had been backed up to the drive while they were being moved to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's electronic medical records system.
"We take our obligation to protect our patients' privacy very seriously," St. Joseph Health president Todd Salnas told the Press Democrat. "We apologize to those patients affected and have already implemented a number of security measures and other protocols so that this doesn't happen again."
Those new security measures, according to Salnas, include additional security personnel, new protocols on handling data, and a new alarm system.
All those affected are being offered one free year of access to a credit monitoring service. Patients with questions are advised to contact (866) 779-0488.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.