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Nerves rattled by identity theft involving LSU Health employee
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2012 16:22:19 -0500


BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — LSU Health is already working to restore its
reputation after an employee allegedly stole the identities of
hundreds of patients.

A spokesman told FOX44 Wednesday that the organization has already
begun a review of its policies and procedures regarding the privacy of
patients' personal information.

Authorities say roughly 400 patients from Louisiana and beyond have to
go through the process of reclaiming their lives.

People in Baton Rouge says LSU Health has to reclaim their trust

"That's a lot of people," Derrick Pierce said. "A lot of people got robbed."

Police arrested seven people for their parts in the identity theft
ring, including Pamela Reams, who worked in the billing department.
Detectives say she admitted stealing personal information from a
hospital database to write counterfeit checks.

"Well, the economy is bad, and the people that's in authority... it's
unfair to those that's struggling," said Michael Causey.

"Makes it worse, yeah," agreed Pat Galik. "Because they're supposed to
be honoring the person that's at the place."

For some, this investigation will make them much more cautious with
their financial information, no matter where they are.

"You got to be very careful," said Earnest Smith. "Like they say, you
got to look behind you, in front, everywhere."

But in an emergency, they will not put their wallets in front of their health.

"No, I'm still go to the hospital," Pierce said. "If I get sick, I'm
going to the hospital."

In a statement, LSU Health said: "in an effort to protect the
reputation and financial interests of our patients, the LSU Health
Care Services Division (HCSD) is cooperating to the fullest extent
possible with law enforcement personnel involved in this

"LSU HCSD has also begun its own investigation into the incident. The
illegal use by the employee of patient checking account information
has directly led HCSD to reevaluate its policies and procedures
relating to employee access of patient confidential information.

"Late last week, LSU HCSD received from law enforcement copies of the
check images printed by the employee and seized from her residence.
Immediately upon receiving this information, HCSD began to determine
which of its patients were affected and to notify them by phone and
letter as required by HIPAA and other federal regulations."

Some people think LSU Health needs to put in tougher criteria for
anyone applying for a job in the billing department.

"Yeah," Galik said. "But how you going to do that?"
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