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HIPAA compliance

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hospital news

Val Verde Regional Medical Center recently discovered a security breach involving a small number of the facility's overall patient population. On or about August 9, 2015, an independent healthcare provider downloaded unsecured protected health information and emailed it to a personal account without encryption protection. In addition, the independent contractor was not authorized to access some of the protect health information. The e-mails may have contained the following types of protected health information: name, address, phone number, medical record number and visit number.

Val Verde Regional Medical Center discovered the breach on December 18, 2015, and promptly began an investigation. In compliance with Texas and federal law, patients affected by the security breach were notified of the incident, along with the Secretary for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, a thorough internal audit of the hospital was conducted and further enhancements to the hospital's HIPAA security program are being implemented for tighter security measures.

Val Verde Regional Medical Center is not aware of any misuse of the protected health information by the unauthorized individual, nor is the hospital aware of any access or misuse of patient medical histories or social security numbers. However, Val Verde Regional Medical Center encourages those patients which were affected to take steps to minimize any potential harm that could be caused by the breach. This includes, but is not limited to, obtaining credit reports from one or more of the major credit reporting agencies and monitoring financial accounts for unauthorized activity. Under federal law, consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report, at their request, from each of the major nationwide credit reporting companies once every 12 months.

Val Verde Regional Medical Center has provided medical services to the residents of Del Rio and surrounding communities since 1959. Guided by the mission to improve the health of the people in the communities served, Val Verde Regional Medical Center views the privacy of patients as a high priority.

If you are a community member who believes your personal health care information may have been compromised, or need additional information, please contact Val Verde Regional Medical Center's Facility Privacy Officer, Mr. Bradley Jones, at 830.775.8566 or HIPAACompliance@vvrmc.org.