Privacy breach at Brentwood Primary Care

An individual completing an externship at the Shands Jacksonville Brentwood Primary Care Center had ties to an identity theft ring and may have compromised patient personal identifying and health information. The individual was removed from the program prior to Shands' knowledge of this incident.

Shands is notifying 1,025 patients that they should take appropriate measures to protect themselves from identity theft. Shands is paying for one year of identity monitoring services to all patients who receive notification.

"We very much regret that this happened," said Russ Armistead, CEO of Shands Jacksonville. "We're doing all we can to work with and support those affected."

The Office of the State Attorney, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Secret Service allege the individual inappropriately accessed and disclosed health information for the purposes of filing fraudulent tax returns. The health information involved included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, service locations and medical record numbers.

The individual was arrested by law enforcement.

Shands HealthCare officials learned of the alleged incident from state and federal law enforcement officials in October when an identity theft ring that targeted several hospitals and health clinics in the state of Florida was uncovered. Law enforcement prohibited Shands HealthCare from notifying patients until the criminal investigation was completed.

The letters sent to patients include information about the incident, steps individuals can take to protect themselves, information about identity monitoring services and steps recommended by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about checking credit reports. To minimize potential future risks, Shands Jacksonville has arranged for those affected to receive identity protection at no cost. To further help prevent misuse of information, those affected may wish to contact the three major credit agencies and notify them that personal information was inappropriately accessed and misused.

Anyone with questions related to the Shands Jacksonville clinic should contact the toll-free Shands Jacksonville Support Center at 877-676-0383. The support center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, Monday through Saturday until July 10.