VCU Health System notifies 2.7k patients of inappropriate access to their medical records

Richmond, Va.-based VCU Health System has informed approximately 2,700 patients that their or their child's medical records were inappropriately accessed during a three-year period, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

On Jan. 10, VCU Health System noticed "an unusual pattern of accessing electronic medical records," according to a VCU Health System press release sent to Becker's Hospital Review.

After an investigation, VCU Health System determined that between Jan. 3, 2014, and Jan. 10, 2017, employees of community physician groups and an employee of a contracted vendor inappropriately accessed information about services patients received at VCU Health System. The information accessed may have included patients' names, home addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, healthcare providers, visit dates, health insurance information and some Social Security numbers.

The physicians, who are not employed by VCU Health System, had access to the medical records so they could view the information of patients who are referred to VCU Health System. The vendor also had access to the records because it provides medical equipment to VCU Health System patients after they have been discharged from the hospital.

Due to the incident, the employees who accessed the records were terminated. VCU Health System claims the records "were viewed without malicious intent" and that there's "no indication that the private health information has been or will be used for any unintended purposes."

VCU Health System is offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to patients whose Social Security numbers were viewable. Additionally, VCU Health System has set up a call center to answer impacted patients' questions.

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