TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Confidential Patient Data Sent to Wrong Company -- For 15 Months

Confidential Patient Data Sent to Wrong Company -- For 15 Months

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 7 Feb 2006 11:59:23 -0500

Doctors and clinics in the U.S. have been faxing information to an
herbal remedy distributor

News Story by Jaikumar Vijayan

FEBRUARY 06, 2006 (COMPUTERWORLD) - A small Lockport, Manitoba-based
distributor of herbal remedies has for the past 15 months been
mistakenly receiving faxes containing confidential information
belonging to hundreds of patients with Prudential Financial Inc.'s
insurance group. The data exposed in the breach -- and faxed to the
company by doctors and clinics across the U.S. -- included the
patients' Social Security numbers, bank details and health care

So far, at least, efforts to deal with the issue appear to have
failed, said Jody Baxmeyer, vice president of marketing at North
Regent RX, the company that's been receiving the faxes.

The situation has been caused by North Regent's toll-free fax number,
which is nearly identical to one used by Prudential to receive medical
claims-related information from doctors, Baxmeyer said. In fact, the
two numbers differ by only one digit, Baxmeyer said.

As a result, North Regent's Lockport office has mistakenly received
thousands of documents sent to the wrong fax number that involve more
than 1,000 claims. The documents contain detailed patient medical
histories, Social Security numbers and bank information meant for
Prudential's insurance division.,10801,108429,00.html

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