Chautauqua County Officials Investigating HIPAA Violation By Health Department

Image via Chautauqua County Government.

MAYVILLE – Officials in Chautauqua County are looking into a HIPAA violation made by the county health department last month.

On March 26 county officials say an e-mail sent by the Chautauqua County Department of Health to several individuals accidentally made visible and listed the personal e-mail account addresses of all the recipients in the subject line.

The e-mail also contained an updated map for the second dose COVID-19 vaccination clinic on March 27 with no other personal information or health information included.

The error was noticed a few days later and letters were sent to those impacted.

“Chautauqua County and the Department of Health and Human Services recognize the unfortunate nature of this incident and assure the public that protecting the confidentiality and privacy of individuals’ personal and health information in our possession is among Chautauqua County’s highest priorities,” said officials in a statement. “If there are any questions or concerns, please call Debra Zahn, Chautauqua County’s Compliance Officer, at 716-753-4714.”

County leaders are now conducting supplemental HIPAA and protected health information staff trainings in addition to its yearly mandatory trainings, and issuing e-mail security and best practice reminders to its staff to ensure this type of accident does not occur again.


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