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Around 1,900 may be affected by data breach at Mercy-North Iowa

Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa has notified around 1,900 individuals or representatives that their protected health information may have been inappropriately accessed by an employee between July 2017 and July 2018.

Posted: Nov. 27, 2018 9:46 AM
Updated: Nov. 27, 2018 9:49 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa has notified around 1,900 individuals or their representatives that their protected health information may have been inappropriately accessed by an employee between July 2017 and July 2018.
A letter was sent out Monday to those affected.
A recent internal investigation that confirmed the employee, who is no longer employed by the medical center, had accessed information, including birth dates, addresses, medication listings and insurance information, but which could not confirm that all of the patient records accessed were viewed for appropriate job-related purposes, according to Mercy.
“We deeply regret this event and apologize to you for this individual’s actions. Inappropriate access to EHRs is contrary to Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa’s policies and inconsistent with the high expectations we place on our colleagues. This person no longer works for our organization and no longer has access to our information systems,” said Kurt Hale, privacy officer, in the notification letter.
Mercy is working to address the incident with the Department of Health and Human Services – Office for Civil Rights and with law enforcement.
“Mercy - North Iowa takes very seriously the responsibility to safeguard the protected health information of patients and apologizes for any concern or inconvenience this situation may cause. To help prevent future incidents, the compliance team is reviewing privacy practices and reinforcing education for all staff members,” Mercy said in a statement.

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