Archived Story

Patient info compromised

Published 9:13pm Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Privacy breach affects Vidant Pungo Hospital patients

Vidant Pungo Hospital has notified more than 1,100 patients whose protected health information may have been compromised.
Vidant Health officials said X-ray film holders that contained the patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth, ages, sex, race and the dates and names of the radiology procedures prior to May 2012 were inadvertently combined with other hospital refuse and taken to a landfill for disposal. The X-ray films were not disclosed, nor was any patient financial
information.
“We deeply regret this incident, and we have made changes to our processes so this doesn’t happen again,” said Harvey Case, president of Vidant Pungo Hospital, in a news release. “We work hard to earn the trust and confidence of the people we serve, and we want to do everything we can to help rebuild that trust.”
Vidant Pungo Hospital sent notification letters to the affected patients in 16 North Carolina counties. The hospital was required by law to send the notification letters, said Barbara Dunn with Vidant Health Strategic Development in Greenville.
“We have attempted to send notification letters to all patients, parents of minor patients and next of kin for patients known to be deceased, but we are unable to locate current contact information for all affected patients,” reads the notification letter. “If you believe that you may be affected by this data security incident and have not received a notification letter, you may call (877) 412-7151 and someone will be available to speak with you.”
Vidant Pungo Hospital anticipates letters should arrive at the affected patients’ homes between now and Nov. 30, depending on the timing of
the U.S. Postal Service. If you have not received a letter by Nov. 30, it is unlikely your name was included. If you have questions or concerns, please call the dedicated toll-free number referenced on the letter with questions. Additional information is also available on the Vidant Pungo Hospital website at

https://www.vidanthealth.com/vidant/dynamic-detail.aspx?id=11781.

Dunn said a similar privacy breach occurred at another Vidant Health facility several years ago.
“It was either 2008 or 2009, a case was discovered where, here at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, an employee had misplaced a flash drive that contained patient information. So, back then we had to do the same thing. We had to notify all patients whose information was misplaced and notify the state as well,” Dunn said.

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