In the past week I downloaded some reports that I knew were on the Glen Rose Medical Center web site. The reports that I was looking for were the Joint Commission Report and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Report that were done on the Glen Rose Medical Center in December of 2014. I recall they were in a board packet. When I opened the board packet for January 2015 the pdf document that I opened on the Glen Rose Medical Center web site, I noticed the very last page contained a patient record. Here is a picture (redacted by me) of the patient record:
Needless to say I was kind of shocked that this patient record with SSN and all was there for me to see connected as any other user could with my browser.
My spouse Debbie contacted the family and notified them that Glen Rose Medical Center had posted their personal information on the Internet for anyone to see, which is how she was able to determine how to contact them. She even walked the family through downloading the document to their PC over the Internet so they had a copy themselves from the Glen Rose Medical Center web site.
The patient record posted online by the Glen Rose Medical Center contained the following information that was filled in, NOT encrypted, and freely available for anyone to download...clearly at least one HIPAA violation:
- Patient Full Name
- Patient Address
- Patient Age
- Patient Date of Birth (DoB)
- Patient Sex
- Patient Birthplace
- Patient Social Security Number (SSN)
- Patient Religion
- Patient Telephone
- Patient Emergency Contact information (Relationship/Address/Phone number)
- Patient Employer
- Patient Insurance Information
- Patient Medicare/Medicaid Information
- Attending Physician
- Patient Diagnosis
- Patient Alergies
The original pdf document, that has since been pulled finally TODAY I assume by request of the family, was included in a board packet for January 2015. The properties of the document indicate it was created at 10:59:01am on 8/20/2015 using a Canon iR-ADV 6055 PDF application. I can only assume file last modified indicates the time they finished scanning in all the data at 11:57:46am and the patient record was the last page (in a hurry to go to lunch?):
Assuming it was posted that same day, the patient record containing personal information was online for 585 days.
Which brings up at least a few questions...
- Why was a patient record sitting in the CEO office, where the board packets are scanned in, at the time it was 'accidentally' scanned into the board packet by either the CEO or his assistant? This is giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was a mistake, what was the document doing in there to start with?
- Why didn't the CEO or his assistant check the PDF before OR after posting it? Where's the quality assurance in the CEO office at Glen Rose Medical Center?
- Who is going to be held accountable? Isn't the CEO responsible for this since it came from his office? Will he resign?
- Will the CEO Ray Reynolds report the HIPAA violation or will he try to avoid taking responsibility by not reporting?
- Will the board even bother to call a meeting to discuss or take any action to address the self-induced problem by the CEO for the Glen Rose Medical Center and now putting the Somervell County Hospital District at risk because of possible fines that may be forthcoming?
- Do you trust Glen Rose Medical Center with your data knowing this has happened to at least one person in the community?
I would suggest actually reading the Joint Commission Report but you are now warned that you may not feel so safe going to GRMC after doing so because there is a lot of the 'Insufficient Compliance' in there that may bother you.