Beebe Healthcare announces proactive steps taken to protect patient information
Beebe Healthcare has announced that on Dec. 27, 2013, it learned that a temporary contractor had previously been arrested for incidents related to identity theft in Pennsylvania four years ago.
The contractor had worked at three of Beebe’s physician offices in the Beebe Physician Network since August, 2013. Upon learning of this information, Beebe immediately terminated the contractor’s engagement and began a thorough investigation, including hiring a national forensic expert firm.
Beebe’s investigation determined that during her assigned job duties, the contractor had access to patient medical records, which included patient names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, health insurance information and clinical information.
Based on the extensive investigation, Beebe has not found evidence that any patient information was removed from Beebe Physician Network or has been used inappropriately in any way. Although the staffing agency with whom Beebe contracted performs background checks on all applicants, the report did not reflect any potential criminal activity for this individual.
This incident affects approximately 1,900 patients, seen collectively, at three of Beebe’s physician practices: Beebe Internal Medicine in Lewes, Beebe Family Practice in Millville and Beebe Pulmonary Associates.
As a precaution, Beebe began sending letters to inform affected patients Jan. 31 and is providing credit protection services for them. To assist the patients Beebe has established a call center that will be available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. to answer any questions. More information can also be found at www.beebehealthcare.org.
To help prevent this from happening in the future, Beebe is performing its own background checks of all staffing agency employees and no longer relying on the staffing agency to do so.
Beebe Healthcare is committed to protecting the security and confidentiality of patients’ personal information. They take this obligation seriously and deeply regret any inconvenience this has caused the patients.