5,700 pediatric records are at risk after an employee is tied to an identity theft ring

30 May 2013

by Alexa Volland, Alligator

Nearly 5,700 patients are at risk after a UF medical practice employee was discovered to have ties to an identity theft ring.

UF was notified on April 11 about the incident by state and federal law enforcement officials. The statewide investigation is ongoing by the Office of the State Attorney, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Secret Service.

Melissa Blouin, UF Health Communications director of news and publications, said because the employee’s job dealt with viewing medical records, any patient at UF Pediatric Primary Care Clinic at Tower Square, now known as UF Health Pediatrics — Tower Square, could be at risk.

According to a news release, the employee may have used pediatric patient records to steal personal information including names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Blouin said the name of the employee has not been released. But the employee was terminated, and law enforcement is taking action against the person, according to the release.

Secret Service Special Agent in charge Lee Fields said he could not comment on the case because it is ongoing. But he said identity theft cases are complex. It can take between nine months and two years to fully investigate and put someone through the criminal justice system, Fields said.

Earlier this year, about 14,000 Shands patients were notified of a security breach after a different employee was linked to an identity theft ring.

Having not been the first incident of its kind at Shands, Blouin said the hospital is taking measures to keep patient information secure. Employees go through criminal background checks and training at least once a year, she said.

“People are very aware of the laws and the implications of even making a mistake can have,” she said. “We are asking employees to be vigilant and to report if they feel like somebody is looking at information that they don’t need to be looking at.”

Blouin said a letter has been sent out to patients and parents. UF will also offer fraud resolution services for up to one year.

“The university really regrets that this happened, and we are going to do our best to help the patients whose information has been affected,” Blouin said.

Article Sourced From: http://www.alligator.org/news/local/article_52703694-c8e3-11e2-8ea6-001a4bcf887a.html