Palm Beach County, Fla., Official Accidentally E-Mails Confidential List of HIV-Positive People to Health Dept. Employees
February 22, 2005
Palm Beach County, Fla., Health Department statistician John Nolan on Thursday accidentally e-mailed to 800 other health department employees a confidential list of 6,500 people in the county who are living with HIV/AIDS, the Palm Beach Post reports (Daugherty, Palm Beach Post, 2/20). Department officials on Sunday said that Nolan, who specializes in HIV/AIDS data, accidentally attached the list to a "routine" e-mail containing a statistical update on HIV/AIDS cases in the county, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Nolan realized his mistake shortly after sending the e-mail and contacted the department's technology staff, who within an hour shut down the system and purged all e-mail attachments (Abbady, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 2/21). According to health department spokesperson Tim O'Connor, 10 people already had opened the e-mail, but none of them had saved, printed, forwarded or stored the list, which contained only patients' names, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. "It doesn't look like it got outside at all," O'Connor said, adding, "We're like 99% sure right now" (LaMendola, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 2/22). He added that the employees who are known to have opened the e-mail have been interviewed and "reminded of their confidentiality agreements," according to the AP/Local6.com (AP/Local6.com, 2/22).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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