The UC Irvine Medical Center is under another investigation, this time for the disappearance of medical files containing personal information of about 300 patients, according to a press release.
A total of 1,600 files have been determined to be lost. Officials initially discovered nearly two months ago that 1,400 files were missing from a storage place in an off-site university warehouse and notified the UCI Police Department on March 6; another 200 files were found missing on April 19. Under California state laws, patient files are generally stored for seven years before they are destroyed.
The missing boxes contained patient names, addresses, medical record numbers and/or social security numbers. The missing files consist of two percent of the entire hospital’s records stored in the facility.
‘We have no indication that the information has been exposed or released to anyone and is being used,’ said hospital spokeswoman Kim Pine. ‘We wanted to conduct an exhaustive search for the documents before notifying affected patients.’
The Medical Center staff is undergoing a thorough review of the contents of the boxes before moving them from the UCI off-campus location, which has been used for more than 12 years, to a secure off-site commercial facility that specializes in document security.
On Monday, May 7, the 287 patients whose files are missing were notified of the situation via letter and advised on how to protect their personal information from identity theft. Concerned individuals should call the California Office of Privacy Protection at (866) 785-9663.
There is a university hotline at (866) 886-2473 to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For further information please visit their Web site at www.uci.edu/privacy_protection.shtml.
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