Northwell hospital says former employee snooped 10,000+ patient EHRs for 14 months

Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, part of New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health, began notifying more than 10,000 patients that their protected health information was inappropriately accessed by a former employee, the hospital said in an Aug. 6 news release.

The New York City-based hospital discovered the EHR snooping after reviewing a Jan. 24, 2020, subpoena seeking documents connected to a motor vehicle accident insurance scheme. 

After receiving the subpoena, Long Island Jewish Forest Hills examined the matter and found that the former employee, who was referenced in the subpoena, improperly accessed certain electronic medical records. The hospital reported the breach to HHS Aug. 6 as affecting 10,333 individuals.

The hospital has no evidence that the records the former employee accessed were used improperly or had anything to do with the insurance scheme. However, it said it decided to notify every patient whose medical records were accessed by the former employee through its EHR between Aug. 23, 2016, and Oct. 31, 2017, during which the individual had access to the EHR. 

The former employee accessed the following patient information: names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, medical record numbers, medical histories, medications, and diagnosis and treatment details, among others. 

Long Island Jewish Forest Hills is offering free credit monitoring to patients affected by the incident and has added additional security tools for monitoring access to its EHR and other medical record applications.


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