Hospital patient info turns up in storage units

Posted at 4:30 AM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-05 07:30:05-04

Officials at a northwestern New Mexico hospital say a now former employee walked off with information on nearly 7,500 patients.

The documents in cardboard boxes turned up in storage units near Farmington. They had been taken from the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock last fall without authorization.

The Indian Health Service runs the hospital on the Navajo Nation. Agency spokeswoman Jenny Notah says there's no indication the information has been misused.

She says the agency is notifying patients and Navajo communities of the breach and offering a year of identity protection services. The agency also ramped up employee training.

The information included Social Security numbers, birthdates, diagnoses and insurance policy numbers.

Notah says the agency delayed notifying patients at the request of law enforcement while the investigation was ongoing.