‘Looters’ stole items with patient information from Durham health office after gas explosion

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Patients of a Durham mental health clinic are being notified that their information may have been stolen by “looters” who took items from the clinic following April’s fatal gas explosion.

A “Notice of Data Security Incident” posted on Main Street Clinical Associates, PA’s website says that while the clinic “has no confirmation that personal or protected health information was viewed without authorization,” they “recently became aware of potential unauthorized access to patient information.”

The letter serves as notice to both patients who were potentially impacted, as well as regulators, according to the statement.

Main Street was formerly located at 115 N. Duke St., across the street from the building that exploded on April 10, killing two and injuring more than a dozen.

“The explosion forced our employees to immediately evacuate their office without the opportunity to properly store and secure patient information,” the clinic says in the notice. “At the time of the evacuation, certain patient files in use were left open and the file room containing patient records was unlocked.”

According to Main Street, they were unable to return to their building from April 10 until Sept. 9. When they were finally able to return, they “discovered that looters had unlawfully entered the office and stolen two laptop computers, a clinician’s cell phone, and a printer that stored patient information.”

The notice states that the computers and cellphone were password-protected and that the client files stored on them were also password-protected. The items were likely stolen between July 15 and Sept. 9, according to the notice.

Although Main Street has no confirmation that any protected health information was accessed, some of the information that could potentially be accessed includes “patient name, driver’s license number, Social Security number, health insurance information, and diagnosis and treatment information.”

Main Street’s notice says that once they realized items had been stolen from their office, they notified police and filed a report.

The clinic says that since they have “insufficient contact information for some of the potentially impacted individuals,” they are hoping that local media will report on the incident and potentially notify patients that way. They are also mailing notice letters to patients for whom they have confirmed mailing information.

Main Street created a dedicated assistance line for those who are looking for additional information about the incident. You can call 866-775-4209 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, if you have any questions, concerns or would like more information.

You can read the clinic’s full notice here. Included at the bottom of their notice is information on how to contact credit reporting agencies to make sure that their identity wasn’t stolen and financial harm was not done to their accounts.

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