Personal data missing from UCI Medical Center

May 11, 2007

By Blythe Bernhard, The Orange County Register

Police are investigating the disappearance of medical files containing personal information for nearly 300 patients from UCI Medical Center, university officials said Thursday.

About 1,600 file boxes stored in an off-site university warehouse were discovered missing in the last two months. The files are generally held in storage for seven years according to state law prior to being destroyed, officials said.

The missing boxes represent about 2 percent of the hospital's records stored at the facility. Some of the files included patients' names, addresses, Social Security numbers and medical record numbers. University police were notified March 6 when the first boxes were discovered missing.

"We have no indication that the information has been exposed or released to anyone and is being used," said hospital spokeswoman Kim Pine.

The 287 patients whose identifying information was contained in the boxes were sent letters on Monday notifying them of the situation. There may be others whose information was included in the boxes. Anyone concerned can call the California Office of Privacy Protection at 866-785-9663.

The hospital has used the storage facility for more than 12 years, officials said. The remaining documents will be moved to an outside company that specializes in document security.

The university set up a hotline at 866-886-2473 to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and also has information on their Web site at

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