More than 70 patients at Emory Healthcare were victims of identity theft by unauthorized person(s) who took information including names, Social Security numbers and, for some patients, addresses, dates of birth and health information such as medical record numbers, according to law enforcement agents.
The information of the 77 patients affected by the theft came from Orthopedics at The Emory Clinic. According to the Emory Healthcare website, information was taken in May 2008 and in January 2009.
Those who visited the Orthopedics and Spine Center for physical therapy, the Spine Center or Sports Medicine alone were not affected, the website said.
Associate Vice President of Health Sciences Communications Jeffrey Molter wrote in an e-mail to the Wheel that according to law enforcement agents, the stolen identification information was used to file fraudulent tax returns.
Molter noted that the incident “was not a breach into the electronic medical record at Emory Healthcare,” and according to the website, the electronic record is “maintained to the highest security standard.” University officials have not released a statement explaining how the information was acquired.
Affected patients have been instructed on how to file a fraud report on their credit reports and have been given identity theft protection service with expenses covered by Emory. Identity theft protection services typically include fraud detection, database monitoring, credit card monitoring, identity theft insurance and more.
Approximately 2,400 additional patients have been notified of the incident and have been given identity theft protection, although Emory does not believe these patients were affected.
“Emory is deeply committed to the protection of all personal information entrusted to us, and we express regret to our patients affected by this incident,” Molter wrote. “We take this incident very seriously and offer sincerest apologies to our community.”
Emory Healthcare is fully cooperating with the Internal Revenue Service and other federal authorities, who are currently conducting an investigation, according to the website.
Molter wrote that because this is an on-going criminal investigation, no additional information can be provided at this time.
— Contact Alice Chen.