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Moreno Valley, CA 92555
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Laptop Missing From Local Hospital May Have Contained Patient Information
Thursday, 29 January 2015 14:00
CONTACT: Kimberly Trone 951-486-4134

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA. – An unencrypted laptop computer reported missing from Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) in December might have contained the personal information of patients who received ophthalmology and dermatology services at the hospital between Jan. 26, 2012 and last Nov. 26.

RCRMC's chief compliance officer, Jan Remm, said the hospital immediately notified law enforcement and began a thorough internal investigation after a department manager at the Moreno Valley-based hospital reported the laptop missing on Dec. 1.

Remm said she has no reason to believe that the laptop was taken for its patient-related files or that information has been accessed or used in any way. She said computer forensic experts determined the information of approximately 7,900 patients might have been stored on the laptop. The information can include differing amounts of patient information, including names, addresses, birth dates and, in some instances, social security numbers and health plan policy numbers. Limited clinical information, such as diagnosis, also might have been present.

"We are taking significant measures to safeguard patient privacy and to restrict unauthorized access to computers and devices that potentially contain patient data," Remm said. "The privacy of our patients is a fundamental priority in our organization and part of our commitment to quality healthcare."

Remm said the hospital has significantly strengthened its inventory controls to prevent future loss of electronic devices, while cyber-security experts are currently encrypting all the organization's computers and laptops to safeguard patient data. Letters are being mailed out to inform affected patients about the potential data breach, Remm said

Hospital officials encourage patients concerned about personal information to closely monitor their credit reports by calling 1-877-322-8228 to request a free annual report from the three U.S. credit reporting agencies; Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The report also may be requested online at www.annualcreditreport.com

Patients concerned about whether their information was stored on the laptop are encouraged to contact the RCRMC confidential assistance line staffed with professionals familiar with this incident. The confidential assistance line is available Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., PST at (866) 313- 7993.

 
SEXUAL ASSAULT: Team of nurses specially trained to help victims
Written by BY SARAH BURGE / PE.COM STAFF WRITER   

Collecting rape kits on the Sexual Assault Response Team is "mentally and physically an exhausting job" but for some members, it becomes a calling.

These nurses see patients on what could easily be the worst day of their lives.

The five-woman team of specially trained RNs collect what are commonly known as rape kits, which involve a highly invasive exam performed as soon as possible after a sexual assault. For them, collecting the kits is a full-time job.

They're forensic examiners with the Sexual Assault Response Team at Riverside County Regional Medical Center.

The team works out of a tiny exam room at the Moreno Valley hospital, providing services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Generally, it's a very, very hard field to recruit for because – think about it – who wants to see victims of sexual assault all the time?" said Gloria Davis, the nurse practitioner who manages the team. "It's mentally and physically an exhausting job."

Many nurses need to move on after two or three years, she said. But for others, it becomes a passion.

Read more at PE.com »

 
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: First flu death reported
Written by BY JAN SEARS / PE.COM STAFF WRITER   

Flu season usually hits hard in February, so there’s still time to get a vaccination, physicians say

The year’s first influenza death in a person under age 65 was confirmed in Southern California on Friday by state public health officials, who warned that this winter’s flu season could be severe.

Influenza levels in California still are lower than elsewhere in the nation, but flu season usually doesn’t peak here until February, officials at Riverside County Regional Medical Center said.

State officials would not say in which Southern California county the death occurred, but local health officials said it was not Riverside or San Bernardino counties.

People who have not yet received an influenza vaccination are urged to do so right away, health officials said. The vaccinations are widely available at doctor’s offices, public health clinics and pharmacies. It takes about two weeks to develop immunities after receiving the shot.

Read more at PE.com »
 
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