VA hospital employee sends 1,193 patients' data to unauthorized email

Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center began notifying 1,193 patients that their protected health information may have been exposed during a 2020 email incident, according to data the hospital reported to HHS' data breach portal Nov. 1.

Four things to know:

  1. On July 27, 2021, the hospital's privacy office was notified of a data breach, according to an Oct. 28 news release. The hospital discovered that on July 29, 2020, an employee sent an email with an attached file containing the health information of 1,193 patients to an unauthorized email account.

  2. Potentially exposed data includes names, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and other health-related information, according to the release.

  3. To reduce the risk of a similar event occurring in the future, VA privacy officers are providing employees with continued training to ensure awareness of and adherence to guidelines, according to the release. The hospital has notified all the affected patients that their data has potentially been compromised.

  4. Becker's reached out to the VA for comment, though a spokesperson said there no updates at this time.

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