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Important notice on data breaches affecting some HHC patients


October 19, 2015 

Notification of Possible Personal Health Information Disclosure

Notification of Possible Personal Health Information Disclosure

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), which operates Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, began this week to notify 1,581 Woodhull patients about the possible disclosure of some of their protected health information (PHI) when a laptop computer was found to be missing from the facility.

A sample notification letter to the affected patients is attached. Notifications will also be posted on the HHC website and will be distributed to news outlets. In addition, HHC is advising patients of steps that they can take to review their medical records and has provided them with a toll-free hotline information number staffed by Kroll Inc., a third-party HHC security vendor. The laptop, which was secured by a locked chain and restricted by password access, contained PHI that could include names, medical record numbers and physician summaries.

There is no evidence to suggest that the information contained on the laptop was misused and it is likely that the laptop, which had been physically secured by a lock in a patient examination room, was stolen for its market value and the information contained on it would be of limited use to anyone other than patients or HHC staff.

Consistent with federal regulatory requirements, HHC has notified the federal oversight agency and Woodhull has initiated actions to protect against future losses of similar sort, including a review of its security precautions currently in place at Woodhull to identify those areas in which security needs to be supplemented. Woodhull is also encrypting all new computer equipment and reviewing its security-awareness training so as to emphasize to workforce members the importance of security awareness.


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