MARIETTA, Okla. (KXII)– Authorities confirmed Thursday that medical records were stolen in addition to mail, in two identity theft arrests made last month.
“We’ve been violated as a hospital, the community’s been violated, and we suffered the theft of some records that was inappropriate, and will not happen again.” Mercy Health Love County administrator Richard Barker said.
Love County Sheriff Marty Grisham confirms 10 medical records were stolen from the hospital’s storage building sometime earlier this year. The suspect, Lane Miller, worked as a licensed practical nurse for them until the beginning of this year, before allegedly returning to break in.
“These buildings are secured in various ways, with three digit security combinations, and these combinations are changed periodically,” Barker said. “They weren’t changed soon enough to prevent this theft, and I take responsibility for that.”
Miller and Robert Bond were arrested in June of this year, after evidence linked them to several reported identity thefts in the area, totaling upwards of $300,000.
“It has affected people’s lives in this county, and surrounding counties because they have stolen the identity of people, used their credit cards in different places, and have ruined their credit.” Grisham said.
And while hospital administrator Richard Barker says he can’t give many details, he says they have taken all necessary steps.
“Our security measures have changed dramatically, and we are going to make sure this never happens again, so we want to maintain the confidence of the community.” Barker said.
Barker says they have also alerted the Office of Civil Rights…which handles H.I.P.A.A violations; the federal law that deals with the improper disclosure of medical records. But he says the breach was small enough he doesn’t expect a federal investigation.
Barker says all 10 patients affected have been notified and have been offered support in credit monitoring from them, and no one else was affected by the breach.
As for Bond and Miller, Grisham says if convicted, they could each spend over 80 years in prison, with 12 and 13 felony charges respectively.