BHCHP Conducts a Thorough Investigation of Possible Violation of Protected Health Information

No evidence of access to protected health information of patients was found

To read the press release in Spanish, click here.

Boston, MA - In mid-March 2018, a lapse in security led to a possible breach of the Protected Health Information (PHI) of patients of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s (BHCHP’s) clinic at St. Francis House (SFH) in Boston. 

A shelter guest trespassed into the clinic on the night of March 13. The event was reported to law enforcement, who did not detain the intruder. BHCHP’s comprehensive investigation found no evidence that the intruder viewed or retained PHI.

Health information involved in the possible breach included handwritten staff notes, printed patient lists, referral forms, and insurance/benefits applications.

BHCHP is not aware of any misuse of patient information, but is notifying patients who may have been affected by the possible breach. Patients with questions about the possible breach may call BHCHP toll free at 888-328-7893. BHCHP recommends that patients who have accessed care or services at the SFH clinic monitor their credit reports and/or report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement. Individuals may request a free copy of their credit report by visiting annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

BHCHP conducted an internal investigation that included a comprehensive search of all parts of the SFH clinic to which the intruder would have had access and interviews with clinic and shelter staff. BHCHP then performed a detailed analysis of the evidence that the investigation surfaced. BHCHP also promptly ensured that the clinic door was secure and implemented extra safety measures, including an additional lock on internal doors within the clinic and secure storage of keys to internal doors, file cabinets, and storage cabinets. In addition, BHCHP updated its policies governing how staff use and store patient information.

For more information, please call the toll free number (1-888-328-7893) to speak with a BHCHP Compliance Officer or senior manager.

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About Boston Health Care for the Homeless

Since 1985, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program has been delivering exceptional medical and behavioral health services to homeless individuals and families in Greater Boston. Each year, BHCHP provides care for over 11,000 patients where they are, whether in the streets and back alleys; at our over 45 clinics in adult, family, and domestic violence shelters; at our two hospital-based clinics at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center; and in our 124-bed medical respite facilities, the Barbara McInnis House and the Stacy Kirkpatrick House. BHCHP is proud to work alongside local, state, and federal public health and homeless advocates to respond quickly to the changing needs of our patients.

For more than 30 years, BHCHP has bridged the gaps in care that impact the lives and health of homeless individuals and families, and is now one of the largest and most comprehensive health care for the homeless programs in the country. BHCHP continuously strives to understand and improve the health and health status of all people experiencing homelessness through our Institute for Research, Quality, and Policy, a collaborative center for research, quality improvement, education, advocacy, and public policy. As core to its mission, BHCHP adapts its care model to meet the evolving needs of this vulnerable population, including undertaking innovative interventions to stem the opioid crisis.

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