Breach Tied to Narcotics Fraud

Nurse at Wisconsin hospital arrested
Breach Tied to Narcotics Fraud
A small-town hospital in Wisconsin has notified 600 patients about a breach in connection with a former emergency room nurse charged with fraudulently obtaining controlled substances.

Tomah Memorial Hospital became aware of the breach March 22. On March 29, Dianna Peth, 54, of Tomah, was arrested and charged with diversion of narcotics. She had been employed at the hospital since November 2007.

"This breach occurred because the nurse misused her legitimate access to protected health information," says Phil Stuart, the hospital's CEO.

The hospital also notified the media and federal authorities as required under the HITECH Act's breach notification rule.

So far, the hospital and local police have concluded the patient information involved has not been improperly disclosed to anyone. The hospital is reviewing whether any patients affected by the incident, or their insurers, have been inappropriately billed for medications.

"We believe that the only negative impact on patients might be an incorrect bill for medications, and we are addressing that," Stuart says. "We do not believe that patient financial or healthcare information is at any further risk of misuse."

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

Former News Editor, ISMG

Anderson was news editor of Information Security Media Group and founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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