Notification of Possible PHI Disclosure
Oct 11, 2022
On Monday, August 15, 2022, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue (Bellevue) discovered that its’ Medical Correspondence Office had been compromised. The incident involved an individual who broke into the locked office on August 13, 2022, and had access to subpoenas and check payments for medical records in that office. The protected health information (PHI) on these documents included patient names, dates of birth, and addresses. For a limited number of patients, a social security number or medical record number may have been included on a subpoena or check. The individual who compromised the office was apprehended by the New York Police Department, but no subpoenas or checks were recovered. Rest assured that Bellevue has increased the physical security of the Medical Correspondence Office to prevent such incident from reoccurring.
Although there is no evidence that the PHI has been misused in any manner, if you wish to take further precautions to protect yourself from possible adverse consequences as a result of this incident, please consider the following suggestions.
- Order a free credit report. Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three national consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once every twelve months. After you receive your credit report, you should review it to see if it contains activity that you do not recognize, such as accounts that you have not opened or debts that you did not incur. If you discover information in your credit report that you believe to be fraudulent, contact the credit reporting company to remove this information. You may obtain your free credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, or by telephone at 1-877-322-8228.
- Place a credit alert on your consumer credit files. Call the toll-free number below to place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent unauthorized individuals from opening accounts in your name. As soon as Equifax confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus (Experian and TransUnion) will automatically be notified to place alerts on your credit report.
A fraud alert will advise credit card companies to take extra steps to confirm the identity of anyone who attempts to open a new credit card in your name.
For general information: www.equifax.com/
To place a fraud alert on line: www.myequifax.com
- Monitor your account activities. Read your financial account statements and health insurance statements of services promptly upon receiving them to confirm that they are accurate. Also, make sure that you are receiving your regular bills to ensure that your accounts have not been switched. Be concerned if you receive credit cards that you did not apply for, or you receive communications from creditors regarding goods or services you did not purchase.
Consistent with federal regulatory requirements, NYC Health + Hospitals will notify the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the federal oversight agency for unauthorized disclosures of PHI under HIPAA.
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