Guardian Pharmacy of Jacksonville suffers HIPAA email breach

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On March 30, 2018, Guardian Pharmacy of Jacksonville submitted a HIPAA Email Breach to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Located in Jacksonville, FL, Guardian Jacksonville’s email breach affected 11521 individuals’ protected health information.

Guardian Pharmacy of Jacksonville is classified as a Healthcare Provider.

According to Guardian Jacksonville’s press release:

Guardian Pharmacy of Jacksonville, LLC (“Guardian”) is notifying certain patients of the unauthorized access to certain limited pieces of patient information, including patient name, prescription medication information, treatment details, and diagnosis information.

For a small number of individuals, this information also included Social Security numbers and health insurance information.  Although we are unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of protected health information, Guardian is providing its impacted patients with information about the event, steps taken since discovering the incident to mitigate the risk of misuse of the information, and what can be done to better protect against potential harm resulting from this event.

On October 3, 2017, Guardian identified unusual activity in an employee email account. As part of Guardian’s immediate and ongoing investigation into the event, on February 14, 2018, it was determined that certain pieces of patient information were accessible to an unauthorized individual(s).

“We take this event very seriously,” Khristy McCelland, President of Guardian Pharmacy of Jacksonville, stated.  “Upon learning of the event, we immediately changed the credentials to the email account and launched an extensive internal investigation, which was supported by a third-party forensic investigation firm, into the nature and scope of the incident.  Once we confirmed that protected health information was accessible to an unauthorized individual(s), we immediately took steps to mitigate the risk to our impacted patients and to notify them of the incident.  In response to this incident, we have augmented our password security policies and provided additional training to employees.”

In addition to mailing letters to its impacted patients, Guardian disclosed this incident to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Florida Attorney General, and the major consumer reporting agencies on March 30, 2018.

Guardian is unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of its patients’ information and cannot confirm if their information was accessed without authorization.

Nevertheless, Guardian encourages its patients to review their Guardian account statements, health insurance account records, and explanation of benefits forms for suspicious activity.  Any suspicious activity should be immediately reported to the institution that issued the record.  Credit monitoring and identity restoration services are being offered to patients whose Social Security numbers were potentially impacted by this event.

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.

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Arianna Etemadieh

Arianna is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Paubox. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and volunteering at the animal shelter.

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