Oregon State Hospital records stolen from chief of psychiatry’s car

From the Salem Statesman Journal, April 24, 2012

A theft of patient information from the car of the Oregon State Hospital’s chief of psychiatry has created a confidentiality breach affecting approximately 550 current and former patients, the hospital reported today.

Patients at Oregon State Hospital received a hand-delivered letter today explaining the details of the April 13 break-in of Dr. Michael Duran’s car outside the 24 Hour Fitness health club at 4546 SE McLoughlin Blvd. in Portland, hospital spokeswoman Rebeka Gipson-King said.

A backpack containing hospital notes and records is among the items taken by the thief, Gipson-King said. The records include:

  • A case load list containing the names of approximately 550 patients in the care of the hospital during the first week in March. The list also includes the patients’ hospital identification number, and the doctor and treatment program assigned to each patient.
  • Approximately 20 progress notes of individual patients, randomly drawn by Duran as part of an audit he was conducting of his doctors’ work. These notes include dates of birth and could include health information like the patient’s diagnosis.
  • A notebook containing Duran’s day-to-day work notes.

The Social Security numbers of the patients were not compromised, and no electronic patient information was involved, Gipson-King said.

Letters detailing the breach will go out to all 618 patients treated by Oregon State Hospital during the entire month of March, to make sure everyone who could be affected is notified, Gipson-King said.

About 290 of those patients will be further notified that they could be one of the 20 people whose progress notes were taken during the theft, Gipson-King said. Because Duran’s audit was random, that is as far as hospital officials can narrow down the list.

“We have no reason to believe the information has been misused, but we want to make sure our patients are aware and have the support they need,” OSH Superintendent Greg Roberts said in a prepared statement. “The state hospital takes patient privacy very seriously. We will take any and all steps necessary to ensure no similar incident happens in the future.”

The break-in occurred around 10:15 p.m., after Duran had put in a late night at the hospital’s Salem campus. On his way to his home in Portland, he stopped off at the gym to work out, Gipson-King said.

Gipson-King said Duran took steps to hide the backpack, but the thief rooted it out and took off with it.