by Arianna Etemadieh
Article filed in
Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates suffers HIPAA email breach
by Arianna Etemadieh
On April 30, 2018, Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates submitted a HIPAA Email Breach to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Based in San Antonio, Texas, Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates’s email breach affected 3,017 individuals’ protected health information.
Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates is classified as a Healthcare Provider.
According to Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates’ press release:
On February 28, 2018, an employee of MCOA sent a general marketing email regarding an event taking place at MCOA’s facilities. The body of the email did not contain any personal information or protected health information. However, when composing the email, the employee inadvertently inserted patients’ email addresses in the “Cc” field instead of the “Bcc” field, resulting in all recipients of the email being able to view all other recipients’ email addresses.
MCOA recently sent letters to those patients who may have been affected by this incident. Although MCOA does not believe the disclosure of an email address alone creates a risk of identity theft, the letters informed those patients that MCOA is offering them identity theft protection services through ID Experts® to provide them with MyIDCare™. MyIDCare services include: Twelve months of credit monitoring, a $1,000,000 insurance reimbursement policy, exclusive educational materials, and fully managed ID theft recovery services. More information can be found in the letters provided to those patients who may have been affected.
A variety of administrative, physical, and technical security measures were in place prior to this incident. After the incident, MCOA has taken steps such as reviewing its policies and procedures related to sending email communications to prevent mistakes such as this from occurring in the future. MCOA continues to assess its privacy and security controls to prevent future breaches
HHS Wall of Shame
The HHS Wall of Shame is a website under the jurisdiction of HHS that lists all HIPAA breaches reported within the last 24 months. The Wall of Shame displays breaches that are currently under investigation by the Office for Civil Rights.
As part of section 13402(e)(4) of the HITECH Act, the HHS Secretary must post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals.
HIPAA Breach Report
The Paubox HIPAA Breach Report analyzes breaches that affected 500 or more individuals as reported in the HHS Wall of Shame.