A misconfiguration of the billing system of Texas Health Resources resulted in the impermissible disclosure of 82,577 of its patients’ health information.
Texas Health Resources is one of the United States’ biggest faith-based health systems and the largest in North Texas, which has facilities in 16 counties serving over 7 million patients.
Texas Health Resources found out about the billing system error, which resulted in the incorrect matching of patient information with guarantors on August 23, 2019. The problem, in turn, caused a mailing error to the patients or guarantors. The mailing error happened on July 19, 2019 and affected mailings up to September 4, 2019.
Texas Health Resources investigated the breach to determine which people were affected and which types of patient information were impermissibly disclosed. According to the investigation results, the types of information included in the mailings and delivered to incorrect people were the names, service dates, account numbers, names of treating physicians, name of health insurance provider, amount due, and in certain cases, a brief description of the services obtained. There was no highly sensitive information such as financial data, Social Security numbers and health insurance numbers involved. Affected people received a notification via mail on October 22.
Texas Health Resources took steps to avoid the same mistake from happening again and has improved its data security controls.
The service provider has filed 15 separate breach reports, one for every facility affected, to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.
The affected hospitals and the number of people affected are listed below:
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth – 14,881
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano – 9,678
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas – 12,415
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton – 6,688
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth – 7,478
Texas Health Arlington Memorial – 6,187
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall – 4,789
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford – 4,804
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance – 3,784
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen – 2,993
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Kaufman – 2,157
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne – 2,737
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville – 1,348
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle – 2,113
Texas Health Harris Methodist Southlake – 525