315,000 patients' info vanish from Emory Healthcare

by: Erica Byfield Updated:

ATLANTA —

Officials from Emory Healthcare announced Wednesday they have lost backup copies of 315,000 patients' personal information.

John Fox, the system's president and CEO, said the missing information belongs to people who had surgery at Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Clinic Ambulatory Surgery Center between September 1990 and April 2007.

"We sincerely regret that this incident has occurred and want to ensure our patients that we are committed to safeguarding their personal information," Fox said.

The information was on 10 backup disks.

Fox said the disks were kept in a cabinet in an employee's office on a hallway with restricted access.

"As soon it was discovered that the disks were missing, an extensive search was done and is continuing," he said.

Fox told Channel 2's Erica Byfield an employee noticed the data was missing on Feb. 20 and alerted their supervisor.

Based on an internal investigation, Emory Healthcare officials believe the disks were removed sometime between Feb. 7 and Feb. 20.

Fox said the employee who had the information did not properly secure it but will not face any disciplinary actions.

The disks contained 228,000 patient Social Security numbers. Most of the missing information includes patient names, procedures, surgeon names, dates of surgery and diagnoses.

Fox said the disks were not labeled "patient information," therefore, very few people would know what they contained.

He added that a special piece of equipment is needed to read the disks.

Emory sent victims letters and is offering them identity protection.

"Emory Healthcare is recommending individuals regularly review their credit information for anything they do not recognize," Fox said.

Fox had surgery during this time period and is also personally affected.

For more information, visit www.emoryhealthcare.org/protection or call 1-855-205-6950.

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