September 28, 2011
By Carly Harrington © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Documents containing health information of about 750 Summit Medical Group patients was stolen from an employee’s vehicle earlier this month.
The records including patient names and diagnoses were taken Sept. 4 when a case containing information about certain Summit patients’ hospital discharges from December 2010 through August 2011 was among items stolen while an employee’s car was parked at the employee’s home.
Summit spokeswoman Jennifer Lawson said no patient Social Security numbers, home addresses or financial information were included in the documents.
The information, which did include Summit account numbers, dates of birth, primary physician’s names, names of hospitals and dates of discharges, pertained to those who see Knox County physicians at Emory Family Practice, Summit Medical Group at Deane Hill and Northshore Drive, Fountain City Family Physicians and Dr. Kenneth Reese.
Lawson said police were notified of the theft as well as the Health and Human Services’ office for civil rights. Patient letters were sent out this week.
“Summit physicians and staff members consider patient privacy of the upmost importance. We regret that this crime has jeopardized the privacy of some of these records,” Summit CEO Tim Young said in a statement.
The incident is the first time a breach of patient information has ever occurred at Summit, Lawson said.
The employee had the records because of the employee’s role in managing patient care and must visit multiple physician practices.
Summit said it is using the incident to change the procedures for printing paper reports. The information will be stored electronically.