Originally published October 28, 2019 by Will Maddox at D CEO Healthcare.
Texas Health Resources improperly mailed patient information and bills, impacting 82,000 patients, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The data was “matched with and send to the incorrect guarantor,” which is usually the insurance policy’s primary holder, THR said.
Healthcare data experts say that healthcare data is can be more valuable than credit cards when it falls into the wrong hands. Medical information is sensitive and can be used to blackmail someone who doesn’t want their condition to get out, and the information can also be used to corroborate other financial information. The data included patient names, account numbers, service dates, the names of treating physicians, names of health insurers, amounts owed and sometimes short service descriptions, the Star-Telegram reports.
“Medical information is a lot richer,” ClearDATA Chief Privacy and Security Officer and Founder Chris Bowen D CEO healthcare for a previous story. He says the medical record is 50 times more valuable than a credit card number. “It is not just the credit card. You can build entire human persona around a health record. You can create or seek medical treatment, abuse drugs, or get prescriptions. The life span is so much longer than a credit card.”
Affected patients had a procedure or services performed at Texas Health between July 19 and September 4, but the system says that patient Social Security numbers, health insurance ID numbers, or financial information were not in the mailed data, and there is no indication that it has been misused. The system is working to improve data security measures, the Star Telegram reports.
Affected hospitals include: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst Euless Bedford, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Kaufman, Texas Health Specialty Hospital Fort Worth, and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall, Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery Plano, Texas Health Heart and Vascular Hospital Arlington and Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southlake.