VCU Health Organ Donor and Recipient Data Exposed in Violation

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A data breach may have exposed the medical records of nearly 4,500 organ donors and transplant recipients at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System as early as 2006.

Records of organ donors and recipients at VCU Health, including social security numbers, medical records numbers, lab results, and personal information, could have been accessed by other donors, recipients, or their representatives when logging into their patient portal, according to the health system.

VCU Health says its investigation found no evidence that vulnerable information was misused and the general public could not have accessed the records. The system added that the problem had been solved.

The health system became aware of an issue on February 7 in which certain protected health information was made visible, then later determined that more medical records were accessible between March 29 and May 27.

VCU Health says it worked with external cybersecurity professionals as part of its investigation into the breach. VCU added that it has sent letters to notify those potentially affected, which the health system says is 4,441 donors and recipients.

“Notified individuals received best practices for protecting their information, including placing a fraud alert and security freeze on their credit files, and obtaining a free credit report,” VCU Health wrote in an alert. “Those notified are reminded to remain vigilant by regularly reviewing financial account statements for fraudulent activity.”

The health system suggests that people who may have had their personal information exposed in the breach should review the explanations in their benefit statements that their health insurance providers share and track what they don’t acknowledge.

Organ donors and recipients whose Social Security numbers may have been implicated in the breach were offered free credit monitoring, VCU Health said.

A VCU Health spokesperson did not immediately respond to 8News’ request for additional information.

For further questions or additional information regarding this incident, or to determine if you may be affected, VCU Health has set up a dedicated toll-free response line for people to ask questions. Customers can call the helpline at 855-610-3514, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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