ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A former SSM Health employee is accused of inappropriately accessing patients’ medical records.
According to SSM Health officials, the employee worked at the customer service call center when he accessed the medical records between Feb. 13 and Oct. 20, 2017. The employee had access to protected health information but did not have access to any financial information, including credit or debit card numbers.
SSM Health officials said they learned of the incident on Oct. 30 and immediately launched an internal investigation. During the investigation, it was discovered that the employee accessed patient information from multiple states and the focus of the illegal activities involved the medical records of a small number of patients with controlled substance prescription and a primary care physician in the St. Louis area.
All 29,000 patients whose records were accessed by the former employee, even if the access was part of a legitimate job function, were notified by SSM Health officials. The incident was also reported to the Office for Civil Rights and local law enforcement.
The organization said they have taken immediate corrective actions and will require an additional identifier when patients request prescription refills from the call center. They also said they are reviewing internal policies and procedures and will further strengthen employee access monitoring tools.
SSM Health is also providing identity theft protection at no charge to patients who were affected.
“We take very seriously our role of safeguarding our patients’ personal information, and we deeply regret any inconvenience or concern this situation may have caused our patients,” said Scott Didion, System Privacy Officer, SSM Health.
Patients who feel they may have been impacted but did not receive a notification should call the following toll-free number: 1-888-710-9205.
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