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Dent Says Thousands of Patient Data Accidentally Released



Amherst, NY (WBEN) Dent Neurological Institute says patient information was accidentally attached to an e-mail with 200 recipients. As many as 10,000 patients could be affected.

According to DNI CEO Joseph Fritz, the error was discovered just after it occurred on Monday afternoon and DNI personnel immediately began calling each of the 200 people who received the list and advised them the information was mistakenly sent to them, it was not intended for them and asked them to delete the email from their computers. As of Tuesday afternoon (May 14), all of the 200 individuals who received the e-mail, have been contacted.

The list contained the following information:

Name  
Address  
Active/Former Patient  
Last Appointment  
Scheduling Code   
Primary Physician  
Referring Physician  
E-mail address

Dent says the list did not contain any medical diagnoses, social security numbers, financial information, date of birth or contact phone numbers.  This list, whose sole use is for the purpose of practice updates and educational events to inform patients and referring physicians.

“We are very sorry this happened and we deeply apologize to all of our patients, referring physicians and WNY healthcare partners,” Fritz said. “Patient confidentiality is extremely important in our field and we take it very seriously and we will review how this accident happened so we can steps to minimize the possibilities it could ever happen again. This is an inexcusable event.”

Fritz said the list was mistakenly attached to a routine e-mail that was being sent to patients by a clerk in the DNI administrative office.  “This was a case of human error and the person involved is a dedicated, long-term employee and there was absolutely no malice involved, but that doesn’t excuse it,” he said.

Fritz said DNI has self-reported the event to the New York Department of Health and take whatever steps the state requires. In addition, DNI will send a letter of apology and explanation to all 10,000 patients and their referring physicians, whose names were on the list.

 

Patients who have questions are asked to call the Dent Neurologic Institute at 716-250-2000.



Dent says it has asked the recipients to delete the attachment containing the patients' personal medical information.

In addition to Amherst, Dent has locations in Orchard Park, Batavia and Derby.

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