Drug testing forms with patient information may have been accessed by thieves who broke into the basement of Pardee’s building at 2029 Asheville Highway in Hendersonville on May 9 to steal electronic equipment.
Pardee UNC Health Care has begun the process of notifying the community of the possible data breach that occurred as a result of a break-in.
The equipment taken did not have hard drives intact and as a result, no protected health information or other personal information was accessed via the stolen electronics, Pardee officials said in a news release today.
However, during an onsite investigation immediately following the discovery of the break-in, Pardee Security found a stack of 590 Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control forms dating from October 2003 to December 2004.
These forms, which contained information related to routine drug screenings performed at Pardee Urgent Care, were in plain view and likely accessible to the person(s) who participated in the break-in, according to the release.
“Since the stack of papers was moved from another location and in view of the person(s) who entered the building and removed the electronics, we do have reason to believe that the information contained on the forms could have been viewed,” said Jennifer Melia, compliance and privacy officer for Pardee UNC Health Care.
Due to the age of the drug testing form, Pardee officials note that they lack accurate contact information to send letters to affected individuals.
As a result, individuals who had a drug screening from October 2003 to December 2004 at the Pardee Urgent Care at 212 Thompson St. or 205 Thompson St. in Hendersonville are encouraged to call toll free 866-668-4847 to confirm whether their data may have been viewed.
Protected health information that could have been accessed includes names and phone numbers, birth dates, social security numbers, results of the drug screen, employer name and drivers’ license numbers.
“We are unaware of any specific data misuse as a result of this breach, but we do want to make our affected individuals aware and ask that they remain vigilant and take advantage of the services that we’re offering to protect them from potential identity theft,” said Melia.
Affected individuals are also encouraged to take steps to review and monitor their credit by placing a fraud alert on their credit report by contacting any one of the three major consumer reporting agencies.
Contact information for all three, as well as information on preventing identity theft provided by the Federal Trade Commission and North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, can be found at pardeehospital.org.
Pardee UNC Health Care is also offering free credit monitoring protection services for a period of one year to affected individuals.
“Pardee UNC Health Care is committed to protecting the privacy of patients’ medical information and takes this obligation very seriously,” said Melia. “All paper records previously stored in the lower level of the Asheville Highway location where the break-in occurred have been removed, segregated and are now securely stored at a new location.”
Melia also notes that Pardee consolidated paper records previously stored at multiple off-site records storage facilities into one secure storage facility, and is reinforcing existing employee training on the importance of maintaining the privacy and security of health and other personal information.
“We are reviewing existing employee training and record retention protocols and policies and will reinforce and revise as needed,” Melia added.
Major consumer reporting agencies:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
Patients are encouraged to reach out to the following organizations for information on preventing identity theft:
Federal Trade Commission
FTC’s toll-free Identity Theft helpline at 1.877.438.4338
Attn: Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
North Carolina Attorney General’s Office
Consumer Protection Division
9001 Mail Service
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001