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More than 300 patients' records taken from Hillsborough County Health Department

TAMPA — More than 300 patients of the Hillsborough County Health Department are being offered free credit monitoring services after the agency discovered some of its records had been breached earlier this year.

The records — which included the patient's full name, Social Security number, date of birth, patient ID number and type of visit — were printed by an administrative support employee on Feb. 15, according to a June 27 letter from the health department.

In May, several people were arrested in Georgia with a partial copy of the list that included 187 names, said G. Steve Huard, a spokesman for the department.

Georgia authorities notified the department on May 25 and the agency called in the Office of the Inspector General of the Florida Department of Health.

Together, officials determined who they thought was responsible for stealing the information and terminated them, Huard said.

He did not know Wednesday if there was a direct connection between the fired employee and the suspects in Georgia.

"All the information has been turned over to law enforcement," Huard said.

The Tampa Police Department turned the case over to the Internal Revenue Service, said Janelle McGregor, a spokeswoman for the police.

The incident has changed digital record keeping policies at the Health Department.

"Social Security numbers are no longer entered with all the other information," Huard said.

For the 311 potentially affected patients, the Health Department set up a hotline at (813) 307-8003 to answer questions about the breach.

The agency also sent out letters in late June notifying those who could be affected by the breach.

All but 16 patients have been contacted, Huard said.

More than 300 patients' records taken from Hillsborough County Health Department 07/25/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012 12:50am]
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