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Health records of nearly 34,000 patients stolen from Santa Rosa office

A thumb drive containing health records of nearly 34,000 patients was stolen from a Santa Rosa medical office last week, officials said Wednesday.

The drive was stolen June 2 from an unlocked employee locker at the former Redwood Regional Medical Group imaging center at 121 Sotoyome Dr., according to St. Joseph Health, which operates the office.

The drive contained information on 33,702 patients who received X-ray services at the office over a five-year period between Feb. 2, 2009 and May 13, 2014, said Katy Hillenmeyer, a spokeswoman for St. Joseph.

“We take our obligation to protect our patients' privacy very seriously,” said Todd Salnas, president of St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County. “We apologize to those patients affected and have already implemented a number of security measures and other protocols so that this doesn't happen again.”

The information contained on the device included patients' first and last names, gender, medical record numbers, date of birth, date and time of service, area of body X-rayed, the X-ray technologist's name and the radiation level required to produce the X-ray, Hillenmeyer said.

The data was restricted to X-rays only. No other imaging exams — such as mammograms or MRIs — were included on the drive.

The stolen thumb drive did not contain information on specific illness or patient diagnoses, Hillenmeyer said. Nor did it include any patient financial information, including insurance data or Social Security numbers, she said.

St. Joseph Health took over the imaging center from Redwood Regional Medical Group on April 1. As part of the transition, the records were backed up to the drive as a precaution while they were being moved to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's electronic medical records system.

“We are in the process of standardizing the records from Redwood Regional Medical Group to St. Joseph,” said Salnas. “Not only the data but procedures and policies, which we're still in the process of completing.”

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