A Northern Light Acadia Hospital employee emailed a Bangor Daily News (“BDN”) reporter in response to a request for unrelated information, mistakenly sending an email with an attached file that contained information related to certain patients, Northern Light Acadia Hospital says.
Upon noticing the mistake, both the employee and BDN was contacted regarding the inadvertent disclosure.The reporter who received the file attachment confirmed that the patient information was not shared with anyone else and the file was permanently deleted and destroyed.
The inadvertently disclosed file contained patient names, medical record numbers, medication type, provider names and dates of treatment, but did not contain patients’ Social Security numbers, diagnoses, or health insurance or other payment information.
Northern Light Acadia Hospital is mailing notice letters to the individuals whose information was contained within the inadvertently disclosed file. The hospital says, "Information privacy and security are among our highest priorities. Northern Light Acadia Hospital has strict security measures to protect the information in our possession. Upon learning of this incident, we began conducting a thorough review of our information sharing protocols. Further, we are implementing additional technical safeguards to prevent similar future incidents. Northern Light Acadia will be providing notice of this incident to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"While the recipient of the file and the BDN have provided assurances that the file was permanently deleted and destroyed and that the information at issue was not shared with any other parties and will not be misused, we encourage individuals affected by this incident to review their account statements, health insurance account records, and explanation of benefits forms for suspicious activity, and report all suspicious activity to the institution that issued the record immediately."