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AL Hospital Data Theft Affects Thousands

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 6, 2011

He identified the patient as Chelsea Catherine Stewart. Robinson said that Stewart is accused of stealing information from the medical center, not from the mails, but that the Postal Service became involved because of the potential for the use of mails to engage in criminal activity.

Stewart was charged with a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is unclear whether she ever used the stolen information for gain.

According to an account in the Birmingham News, Stewart took the records from the hospital while visiting a patient there.

According to the Trinity statement, the hospital "is helping affected patients take steps to protect themselves against any possible misuse of their financial information." Also, it said, the hospital is increasing security by changing access to the registration area of the involved department.

A statement from the Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney's Office are forthcoming, Robinson said.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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