Burglars Stole the Medical Records of 1,000 Patients in New Jersey

Patients of Otolaryngology Associates of Central Jersey have been notified of a breach involving their protected health information. Burglars broke in an off-site storage facility of the organization and stole 13 boxes of paper medical records. The stolen medical records included information of approximately 1,000 patients’ names, birthdates, addresses, health insurance account numbers, dates of military service and the names of their doctors. Some records included the patients’ Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

Law enforcement was notified as soon as the burglary was discovered and conducted an internal investigation. A suspect of the burglary is now in custody. His name is Fernando Rios of Sayreville who was caught when he tried to sell the stolen records.  The person that Rios contacted to sell the records to got in touch with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and he handed over the stolen records. Rios is now facing charges of second degree identity theft, second degree trafficking of personally identifiable information and third degree burglary. He’s also facing at least 5 years of imprisonment.

With the recovery of the stolen records, the risk of inappropriate use of the protected health information is rather low. Otolaryngology Associates of Central Jersey had reported the incident to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. But the report is not yet published on the OCR’s breach portal.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA