On May 18, 2018, UT Physicians submitted a HIPAA Email Breach to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Based in Houston, Texas, UT Physicians’ email breach affected 2,793 individuals’ protected health information.
UT Physicians is classified as a Healthcare Provider.
According to UT Physicians’ statement:
A clinic owned by the physician organization of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston improperly sent out mass emails containing the email addresses of many of its patients.
UT Physicians’ Davis Clinic last week sent batches of such emails, notification of a doctor leaving the clinic, the group said in a statement. There were 19 such emails, each of which made visible the email addresses of anywhere from 100 to 300 other people.
In all, 2,800 email addresses were shared. Letters to impacted patients went out Tuesday.
The content did not include any individual health information, physical addresses, Social Security numbers, or diagnostic, insurance or other financial information.
“UT Physicians regrets this incident and apologizes to those affected,” the UT statement said.
In an effort to ensure the incident is not repeated, the statement said the practice has tightened processes for emailing patients, such as vetting all electronic communications and updating practice-wide training on patient privacy. It encouraged patients who received the email to monitor their accounts and refrain from opening emails from unfamiliar addresses.
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.