St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center announced Friday that it notified 858 patients of a privacy breach that occurred after paper records were stolen from an emergency department doctor’s vehicle last month.

The hospital said the stolen information included information such as patient names, birth dates and medical record numbers. The stolen information did not include Social Security numbers, financial information or addresses, according to the hospital.

The theft occurred Dec. 27 from the car of Dr. Bindu Vanapalli, whom the hospital described as an independent contractor who works in the emergency department. According to St. Francis, it’s a violation of policy to remove patient information from the hospital and “disciplinary action has been taken.”

The hospital also added internal information safeguards and offered credit monitoring to the affected patients. The theft occurred in the New Haven area, and that city’s police have been involved in the investigation.

“To date, we have seen no attempts to gain inappropriate access to any information pertaining to those patients,” the hospital’s statement said.

Patients with questions about the privacy breach can call St. Francis weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 1-866-328-1993.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

Leave a comment