Otolaryngology Associates of Central Jersey is contacting patients to make them aware of a breach of their protected health information after a burglary occurred at an off-site storage facility located in East Brunswick, NJ.
The thieves obtained 13 boxes of paper medical records, which included information like names, addresses, health insurance account details, birth dates, dates of military service,and the identities of treating physicians. A limited number of driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers were also among the stolen records.
The burglary was quickly discovered and law enforcement was alerted. An internal investigation was initiated, and measures were implemented to lessen the chance of similar breaches happening in the future.
The medical records were being stored in compliance with state and federal laws, and referred to past patients that had received treatment at either of Otolaryngology Associates of Central Jersey’s two centers in East Brunswick and Franklin townships. All affected people have now been made aware of the breach.
While the perpetrators of most burglaries are never apprehended, a suspect is now in custody of law enforcement. That individual, named Fernando Rios, 33, of Sayreville, was arrested in relation to the burglary after a tip off was received once Rios attempted to sell the records. The people who Rios offered the records to made it known to the U.S Department of Homeland Security and the records were given over.
Since the stolen records were speedily rescued, Otolaryngology Associates of Central Jersey believes the chance of patient data being used inappropriately is minimal.
Mr Rios has been charged with second degree trafficking in personally identifiable information, second degree identity theft, and third-degree burglary. Rios could receive a minimum jail sentence of 5 years.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has received the report of the incident but has yet to appear on the OCR breach portal. Mycentraljersey.com believes the boxes of files contained almost 1,000 patient records.