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Summit Medical: Patient data may have been compromised

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Summit Medical Group said Monday it is looking into an incident of a possible security leak of patient data.

SMG said it became aware of the potential unauthorized disclosure of patient medical records Sept. 5 when management and privacy office personnel were notified a notebook maintained by a medical assistant in the dermatology office in Berkeley Heights was misplaced and was not recovered.

In a statement, SMG said that it launched an investigation into the incident and determined that the notebook was maintained by the medical assistant to track all of the patients to whom she provided health care services.

The employee kept the notebook at the facility and reported that the book never left the dermatology office, according to SMG.

The cataloging of the information in the notebook began about Jan. 12 and included information pertaining to all patients seen by the employee through Sept. 5, when the employee could not locate the notebook. Management and the privacy office personnel conducted interviews of employees, reviewed security footage and searched the office, but found no trace nor evidence of the notebook.

While the information present in the notebook varies by individual, SMG's investigation determined the information that may have been affected includes: name, date of birth, address, home telephone number, insurance policy number, Medicare ID (which can also be a patient's Social Security Number) and treatment information.

While SMG has no evidence that any information involved in this incident has been subject to actual or attempted misuse, it is mailing notice letters to individuals who may have been affected by this incident. SMG is also encouraging potentially impacted individuals to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud, to review account statements and explanations of benefits and to monitor credit reports and explanation of benefits forms for suspicious activity and to detect errors. 

SMG is providing individuals who may have been impacted with information on how to obtain a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling 877-322-8228.

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Anthony Vecchione

Anthony Vecchione covers health care for NJBIZ. You can contact him at: Avecchione@njbiz.com.

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