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  • Orthopedic Practice Suggests Identity Theft Action After Breach – Patient Records Stolen

    Posted on April 13th, 2009 admin No comments

    SALISBURY — As many as 100,000 patients of Peninsula Orthopaedic Associates are being warned to protect themselves against identity theft after tapes containing patient information were stolen.

    In a letter mailed this week, Chief Executive Officer Brian K. Mathias told patients they should place 90-day fraud alerts on their accounts at the three major credit bureaus.

    Patients also were advised to keep an eye on benefits statements from their health insurance companies since they may also be at risk for medical identity theft.

    “What a mess,” said Ann Suthkowski of Salisbury, who was treated at Peninsula Orthopaedic more than two years ago for bone fractures.

    Suthkowski said she planned to give copies of the letter to her attorney and her health insurer as a precaution.

    Another Salisbury resident, Theresa Flores, said her daughter, her husband and parents all got letters, too. Since her daughter is only 12 and probably has no credit history, Flores said she’s not sure if she needs to report it to the credit bureaus.

    “I am a little concerned, and I don’t know what to do,” she said.

    The records from Peninsula Orthopaedic — which has offices in Salisbury and Berlin — were stolen March 25 while in transport to an off-site storage facility, Mathias said in the letter.

    “While this information was stored in a proprietary database format and would not be readily accessible to the average person without specialized equipment or software, it is capable of being accessed by a third party,” Mathias wrote.

    Patients’ personal information including their Social Security numbers, employers and health insurance plan numbers may have been among the information stolen.

    “Our patients’ privacy is a top priority for Peninsula Orthopaedic Associates,” Mathias said in an e-mail to The Daily Times on Friday. “We were notified of a potential security breach on March 25th and began working immediately with law enforcement to investigate this matter thoroughly and quickly.We have notified all of our patients and they can call with questions anytime. At this point, there is no evidence that any of our patients’ information has been compromised.Since the matter is now in the hands of law enforcement, we are not at liberty to discuss the ongoing investigation.”

    A spokeswoman for the 56-year-old practice also declined to release any more details because of the ongoing police investigation.

    However, she re-emphasized there is no evidence so far than any of the information has been accessed or misused.

    “We’re hoping that brings some level of comfort to people,” she said.

    (by Liz Holland- delmarvanow.com)

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