NC officials mistakenly send information for 1.2k patients to media outlets

Mecklenburg County, N.C., officials accidentally sent HIPAA-protected information to two media outlets on March 27, impacting at least 1,200 patients, WSOC-TV reports. WSOC-TV was one of the media outlets that received patient information.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department intended to respond to a public records request over the department's alleged failure to notify patients who received abnormal Pap smear test results at Mecklenburg County clinics, according to another WSOC-TV report. Upon receiving the confidential patient information WSOC-TV notified county officials.

"The County has contacted the outlets to recall the information and is confident that no protected information has been released to the public," the health department said in a statement, reported by WSOC-TV.

Mecklenburg County officials are in the process of contacting impacted patients. Dena Diorio, Mecklenburg County manager, said the county is establishing new processes for sharing patient information, including no longer sending private information in emailed spreadsheets.

"Mecklenburg County takes protecting private information very seriously and has multiple levels of security to keep this from occurring," according to the health department statement. "That system failed in this instance, and the County will closely review the policy and procedures used to release information and to make sure this type of information is not released in the future."

Mecklenburg County Health Department told Becker's Hospital Review it had no additional comment as of March 30.

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