Nfld. & Labrador

Another breach of privacy for Eastern Health

Eastern Health says the accidental privacy breach occurred when the briefcase of an employee was stolen from a vehicle that was left unattended on the evening of April 17.

Health authority says this is second breach in a week

Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski has formally apologized to patients whose privacy was accidentally breached. (CBC)

The province's largest health authority has experienced yet another breach of privacy. 

In a release issued on Thursday, Eastern Health said the accidental breach occurred when the briefcase of an employee was stolen from a vehicle that was left unattended for a short period on the evening of April 17.

The briefcase contained one patient chart — and a notebook with limited personal health information of 62 other patients.

The briefcase has not yet been recovered. 

President and CEO Vickie Kaminski has formally apologized.

"I regret that this incident had occurred, and I apologize to all of the patients whose privacy has been accidentally breached," said Kaminski.

"We continue to hold zero tolerance for any wilful privacy breach that occur in our organization, and will make every effort to learn from this accidental privacy breach in efforts to further strengthen our privacy and confidentiality practices."  

Eastern Health has identified all patients who have been impacted by the breach, and has contacted the majority of those impacted. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has also been notified. 

This incident is the second accidental breach of personal health information that Eastern Health has experienced in the last week.

On April 16, a briefcase was stolen from another employee's vehicle which contained information on two patients. That briefcase has since been recovered and the patient information remained intact. The two patients were advised of the incident.

Charges laid against two former employees

This latest incident is separate from the cases of two former health employees who are facing charges for accessing patient records in 2012.

The two have been charged with violating the Personal Health Information Act.

One was an employee of Eastern Health, the other was employed with Western Health. Both were fired after the boards discovered patient records had been inappropriately accessed.

The two people being charged have not been named. They both have court appearances next month.

If convicted, they each could face a fine of up to $10,000 or six months in prison.