Information on the limited theft of patient information.
Hallmark Health takes the privacy of our patients very seriously. Although there is a very low risk to patients, we want to let the public know about a recent incident that occurred at our Melrose-Wakefield Hospital campus which resulted in limited patient information (PHI) being released.
On August 19, 2011, old x-ray films were stolen from the hospital by thieves representing themselves as employees from a vendor used by Hallmark Health. The films contain limited information that includes name, medical record number, image and date of exam. There was no financial information or other sensitive information such as Social Security number included on these films. The films were dated 2006 and earlier.
Upon discovery of the theft, the police were contacted and a report was filed. At that time, we were notified that this theft was part of a nation-wide string of similar incidents. We believe the motive for this crime was for the material and not for the limited information the x-ray film contained. In order for the material to be extracted, the films must go through a process which ultimately destroys them. For this reason, we are confident that the films no longer exist.
In light of this theft, we are also revising our policies and procedures to safeguard against any future incidents.