Substitute Notification of Possible PHI Disclosure
Dec 22, 2023
NYC Health + Hospitals is posting this notice in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which requires NYC Health + Hospitals to notify affected individuals of the unauthorized disclosure of their protected health information (PHI). On October 23, 2023, NYC Health + Hospitals became aware that some of its patients’ PHI had been inappropriately disclosed.
The incident that caused the unauthorized disclosure of PHI occurred at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County (“Kings County”) between October 2, 2021, and August 14, 2023 when a Kings County employee allowed a Kings County volunteer, who was not authorized to work in the Kings County laboratory, access to the laboratory to assist in the processing of laboratory test specimens for Kings County patients. The disclosed PHI included patients’ names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, locations within the hospital, and laboratory tests ordered.
No financial information or other identifiers were disclosed during this incident. There is also no evidence to suggest that the disclosed PHI has been misused in any manner.
If you had a laboratory test performed at Kings County between October 2, 2021, and August 14, 2023, your PHI might have been inappropriately disclosed to this volunteer. If you would like more information, please call us toll free at 888-91-HIPAA (888-914-4722) from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday.
NYC Health + Hospitals has taken measures to ensure this type of incident does not reoccur. Specifically, the employee who granted the volunteer access to Kings County is no longer employed by NYC Health + Hospitals and is barred from future employment with NYC Health + Hospitals. The volunteer who inappropriately entered the Kings County laboratory is also no longer volunteering at NYC Health + Hospitals and is barred from future volunteer work or employment with NYC Health + Hospitals. In addition, a notice was sent to NYC Health + Hospitals laboratory personnel advising them that they are prohibited from allowing non-employees access to any of its laboratories.
Consistent with federal regulatory requirements, NYC Health + Hospitals will notify the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the federal oversight agency for HIPAA enforcement, of this incident.