According to a report in the Times and Democrat, an auditor at the Regional Medical Center found that a former employee's password may have been used to access medical records. Hospital officials say they still don't know who may have had access to information, or why they would have looked at it.
"We could not determine whether there had been a real breach or not but on the safety side, we notified the 200 people that may have been breached," RMC president Tom Dandridge told the paper. "None of the 200 people had any identity theft or any problems."
Regardless, the hospital is offering affected patients free credit monitoring coverage for a full year that will cost it about $5,000 in all, the paper said. According to Howard Harris, the vice president of human resources at RMC, the hospital has also added new safeguards to ensure that the passwords of former employees are deleted from their computer systems.
"When we find something like that, we do a full investigation, identify and make recommendations and find a remedy for that to not occur again," Harris told the Times and Democrat.
In recent months, there have been a number of concerns about potential data breaches at medical centers. These are of particular concern because of the amount of personal data a hospital must store about patients. They not only maintain records of things most businesses keep, such as names, contact information and credit card information, but also their Social Security number, medical insurance information, patient histories and other details that could endanger their personal identity.
If a consumer is concerned about the state of their identity's security, it may be advisable to seek a credit monitoring service. Doing so would enable them to be aware of any instance of someone using their personal data to open a line of credit without their permission.