In February 2018, the Des Moines Crisis Observation Center (DCOC) operated by Polk County Health Services Inc., discovered a breach, and, upon further investigation, discovered it started in June 2014.

A press release from DCOC was issued in April 2018 notifying patients that some of their information had been breached.  DCOC stated that they know who was affected, but did not provide information on how the breach occurred.  They simply mentioned that they “accidentally and unknowingly disseminated personal and protected health information.”

Some of the information released included full names, addresses, Social Security numbers, Medicaid identification numbers, dates of admission, and discharge locations. DCOC also stated that they do not believe this information was used improperly.

To help reduce the likelihood of another breach, DCOC has added computer security protections and protocols and has provided additional education to Polk County Health Services’ workforce concerning the importance of maintaining health information privacy.

To aid patients who were affected, DCOC suggested they register a fraud alert to the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Additionally, DCOC will provide twelve months of credit monitoring at no charge.

If patients have any questions or concerns, the organization provided contact information in the release.

To help provide important privacy training to your employees and avoid breaches like this, join HIPAAgps today.