UF Health Shands notifies patients of privacy breach

UF Health Shands announced Friday that it experienced a privacy breach involving more than 1,500 people.

According to a Shands press release, officials have notified the 1,562 affected individuals of the incident, in which a former employee accessed medical records outside the scope of the person’s official duties. The incident occurred between March 30, 2019, and April 6, 2021.

Shands said the information did not include Social Security Numbers, insurance details or other financial information, but some demographic information was exposed, including name, mailing address, phone number, medical record number and date of birth. Clinical information from emergency room visits, including physician name, chief complaint, progress notes and laboratory and imaging results, may have been accessed or viewed, according to the Shands announcement.

“Upon learning of this incident on April 7, UF Health Shands officials and the Privacy Office immediately began an investigation to determine the information accessed and terminated the employee’s access to all medical record and other systems,” the release said. “UF Health Shands requires staff to protect patients’ confidentiality and also has numerous policies and procedures as well as training and education to facilitate the proper use of information for business purposes only.”

The hospital said it has no indication the information was further used or disclosed, but it is offering one year of free credit monitoring as a precautionary measure. Officials mailed letters this week to patients who were directly affected.

UF Health Shands also set up a call center to provide information and field questions or concerns. It is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 1-833-903-3648.

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