A data breach at Tewskbury Hospital may have placed the security of some patients' protected information at risk.
In an online alert, The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services said the hospital became aware of an incident that may have leaked confidential health information about some of its patients. However, there has been no indication that any of that information was misused.
The hospital was alerted to the situation in April by a former patient who expressed concern that someone may have accessed their electronic medical records inappropriately. A review revealed that a hospital employee appeared to have accessed the former patient's records without a good reason to do so. Further review showed that the employee appeared to have inappropriately accessed the records of "a number of current and former Tewksbury Hospital patients."
The information included names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, gender, diagnoses, and other information about medical treatment at the hospital. For some individuals, it may have also included a Social Security number.
The employee is no longer employed by the hospital, and the hospital said it is reviewing its policies on access to its electronic medical records system to reduce the chance of future incidents like this occurring.
The incident has been referred to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, the Massachusetts Office for Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.
The hospital said those who may be affected include people who were patients from 2003 through 2017. Written notice has been sent to any patients the hospital has contact information for.
Anyone with questions or who thinks their information may have been accessed can call 888-850-7541 for medical units or 888-850-7571 for mental health units.
Tewksbury Hospital is a 370-bed facility located on an 800-acre campus, serving about 220 medical patients and 150 psychiatric clients. It also houses substance abuse programs serving another 300 people.