Miami-Dade County

UHealth announces it lost patients’ records months ago

Spiro Karantsalis, 15, is a frequent patient of University of Miami Health System (UHealth). On Feb. 3 — almost eight months after UHealth discovered a breach of his health records — Spiro’s father, Theodore, received a letter saying his son’s personal information, including his Social Security number and diagnosis codes, may have been compromised.

“Your child’s medical records are not at risk,” the letter assured.

UHealth learned last June that patient records stored with a vendor had been lost or stolen. The records belonged to eye, ear, nose and throat patients of UHealth’s Department of Otolaryngology.

According to a UHealth press release, the records were discovered missing when an attempt was made to retrieve them at the off-site storage facility. After “an exhaustive search,” the breach was confirmed on August 28.

The release said there was no indication the information had been misused and that anyone who is affected — patients in the Department of Otolaryngology — would receive a letter.

“The breach happened June, 2013 Why are you guys telling me about it now? That’s my biggest question,” said Karantsalis, a librarian at Miami-Dade College.

UHealth representatives declined comment. In the letter, UHealth offered those affected a free, two-year membership with an identity theft protection company.

This story was produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation .