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Victims of Enloe Paperwork Theft Entitle to Free Credit Report

By Faye Mergel
Published: Monday, October 26th, 2009

Chico, California – Workers at Enloe Medical Center found out last Tuesday that some paper files containing patient information were missing from their storage facility. Normally, those files are encoded in their computer before being shredded to protect patient information. Because of the theft, many patients fear that they would eventually fall victim to identity theft. But hospital officials assure patients that they can still protect their identity by regularly checking their accounts with the credit reporting agencies (CRAs). Officials, likewise, announced that possible victims are entitled with a free credit report from the major bureaus.

Victims of Enloe Paperwork Theft Entitle to Free Credit ReportThe public relations director for Enloe Medical Center reported that the missing paperwork documented ambulance runs made by Enloe approximately between October 8 and 12. She added that victims can check their credit report for free and request fraud alerts for no pay as well.

Hospital representatives say they promptly sent out letters to patients whose personal identifying information may be compromised. The hospital enters patient information on a computer before disposing written records. They said they check if lists are complete before shredding them to make sure that no information breach occurs.

According to Chico Police report, an unidentified suspect took the hinges off a storage contain to gain access and then took paperwork on top of the shredding bin. Hospital officials reported that all paper files contain personal identifying information. They add that they do not exactly know what kind of information the forms contain. Names and addresses are certainly one of them. Another possible information could include medical conditions, Social Security numbers, and insurance and Medicare records.

Enloe representatives say the letters, combine with a police report filed by the medical center, will entitle possible victims of the free credit report from the three major CRAs: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Representatives also say that they are on close watch for people who might try to acquire services from their facilities through fraudulent accounts.

California Department of Public Health already received reports regarding the theft and is currently investigating Enloe made violations against the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Officials from the medical center said only employees access the paperwork bin and a vendor regularly picks up the materials to verify that they have been properly disposed of. They are currently reviewing security measures for the hospital to see if changes are necessary.

Meanwhile, patients who were included in the ambulance runs from October 8 and 12 are encouraged to check their credit report and check their accounts for fraudulent items. They are advised to check if there are credit card applications and accounts opened under their name which they did not make.

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