New Jersey medical practice notifies patients to stolen records

A New Jersey medical practice is mailing letters to patients affected by a September theft of 13 boxes of medical records taken from an off-site storage facility, according to mycentraljersey.com.

Fernando Rios, 33, allegedly broke into a storage unit in East Brunswick, N.J., and stole more than 1,000 medical records belonging to past patients of East Brunswick, N.J.-based Otolaryngology Associates of Central Jersey. Mr. Rios attempted to sell the records, but the potential buyer quickly alerted the Department of Homeland Security and turned them over.

Mr. Rios was arrested on charges of second-degree identity theft, second-degree trafficking in personally identifying information and third-degree burglary — charges that carry a minimum of five-year state prison sentences. 

Officials at OACNJ believe the risk of identity theft or financial fraud is low in this instance because of law enforcement's quick involvement. However, the records contained patients' names and address, as well as health insurance account numbers, dates of birth, dates of military service and the treating physician. In some cases, Social Security and driver's license numbers may have been involved.

OACNJ has notified the federal government as required under HIPAA, according to mycentraljersey.com.

Becker's Hospital Review has reached out to Otolaryngology Associates of Central Jersey for comment. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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