Monday, August 28, 2017

Aetna Accidentally Reveals the HIV Status of 12,000 Individuals with a Mailer

Aetna HIV.jpg
Patient confidentiality is a big deal.  It was a very major and important issue before the invention of electronic records and it has remained that way almost from the first moment a doctor wrote confidential patient information into a paper chart.
So, it comes as a shock that I read of this incredible mistake made by Aetna.  It seems that the company sent a mailer to at least 12,000 of their customers that revealed their HIV status through the large window of the envelope.  If the photo above is too small for  you to read, allow me to tell you what it says:
“The purpose of this letter is to advise you of the options… Aetna health plan when filling prescriptions for HIV Medic… members can use a retail pharmacy or a mail order pharma…

Anyone who saw this envelope could plainly see that the recipient was being advised on filling prescriptions for HIV medications.  It goes without saying that this is a serious violation of patient privacy.
Of course, those individuals whose information was revealed are aghast, angry, and have been done an almost irreparable amount of damage.
I’m now anxiously awaiting to see what the Federal Government does to teach Aetna a lesson.
There is an article that goes into great detail on this over at NPR.  As far as I’m concerned, it is a must read.

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