Woodland Heights employee investigated for stealing 450 patients' info

Woodland Heights employee investigated for stealing 450 patients' info

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Texas Ranger and a Lufkin hospital are investigating a former employee after the Ranger reported discovering approximately 450 patients' information in their home.

A letter to a patient dated on Dec. 1 states Woodland Heights Medical Center became aware of the unauthorized removal on Oct. 15 after Texas Rangers told them they had discovered documents within the home of an employee.

"Out of all places you'd think that the hospital would be extra careful," Margaret Hodges, one of the victims said. "It makes it hard to trust anybody with your information."

The letter states the records are called face sheets and contain the patient's full name, address, telephone number, health insurer name and policy number, social security number, date of birth, employer, employer address, emergency contacts, guarantor, medical record number and account number.

In some instances the information can be used for personal gain, or to make a profit.

"You can use that information yourself or you can sell that information to a third party," Tim Leonard, Chief Information officer for Commercial Bank of Texas said. "There are different black markets you can sell that information to."

The Rangers recovered face sheets dated between 2013 and 2015.

According to the letter, the Rangers are investigating the former employee.

The hospital is offering free identity theft protection and credit monitoring services to victims.

Leonard encourages others who haven't been affected to do sign up as well.

"Put a fraud watch on your account, that way if anyone tries to open up credit in your name you'll be alerted," he said.

Woodland Heights spokeswoman Jennifer Stevens confirmed the investigation and said approximately 450 patients had information removed from the hospital without authorization. She said the employee no longer works at the hospital.

"We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause," Stevens said.

DPS spokesman David Hendry said the Ranger is still investigating the case and an arrest has not yet been made.

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