LabCorp notified the Maryland Attorney General’s Office that a computer had been stolen and that there was a security breach of patient information. The computer was stolen from one of its facilities in North Carolina and it contained patient names, dates of birth, and Medicare subscriber numbers.
LabCorp’s notification states that they notified law enforcement, but they failed to state when the theft actually occurred. And although they disclosed that 115 Maryland residents had data on the computer, they do not report the total amount of how many patients’ personal information was on the stolen computer.
Under the Federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws, there is the Privacy Rule, a Federal law which gives patients the rights over their health information and sets limits on who can look at and receive such information. The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral.
The information protected is:
In this case, LabCorp failed to maintain your information properly protected and those who stole the computer from the LabCorp center are able to look at it, pass it on to others and even post it on the internet. To see if your information was on that computer, call the main LabCorp Headquarters by contacting them through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling LabCorp at (877) 234-4722 / (877-23-HIPAA) and asking for the LabCorp HIPAA Privacy Officer, or by sending a written request to: HIPAA Privacy Officer, LabCorp, 531 South Spring Street, Burlington, NC 27215.
When you are not treated properly you usually have the ability to go to another service provider that will give you satisfactory service. That is the beauty of a democratic system that allows free enterprise to compete for your business. It allows you to vote with your dollar. The best service provider wins and those with inefficiencies and lack in service disappear. Well that’s how it is supposed to work, in theory. Here’s a letter I received from a patient in Virgina. Unfortunately, due to restrictive insurance rules and insurance company’s zeal to work with the lowest bidder, the free enterprise system does not exist when it comes to reference labs, such as LabCorp.
Here’s a letter I received from John that details his experience at LabCorp Virgina. He sent this letter to LabCorp managers:
The following is an email sent to LabCorp to complain about the services provided at one of their locations. To date I have not received a response from LabCorp nor do I expect one.
This morning 29 May 2009 I visited one of your facilities located at 805 BATTLEFIELD BLVD N, CHESAPEAKE, VA 23320, Phone: 757-547-4892. I arrived and signed in at 7:50 AM, at that time there were 8 patients, including myself in the waiting area. Of these 8 patients, 7 had not yet been processed by the technician at the desk. I waited in the waiting area for 40 minutes, during that time 2 more patients were processed at the desk and only one patient was called to the back for sampling/processing. At 8:25 the tech at the front desk left, stating she was supposed to gone by 8:00, and no one was there to replace her, if you recall there are still 5 patients waiting to be in processed. At this point I left the facility. I will try ANOTHER LABCORP facility later today. The only reason I would ever set foot in a LabCorp facility again, is that my insurance requires the use of LabCorp.
This is not the first occasion of slow or non existent service at this location during the morning hours. I visit this location in the morning on my way to work and I have NEVER been met with prompt service. If this office is aware that they are busy in the early morning, would it not make sense to staff for this, or maybe they just don’t care. From the attitudes of the front desk clerks I believe the latter is the case.
I worked in health care for 20 years as a hospital corpsman in the US NAVY. I have spent many years in a clinical setting both in a lab environment and a pharmacy environment. I can tell you, if we provided the level of service provided by this particular LabCorp facility, changes in management and staffing would have been forthcoming immediately. This facility provides terrible customer service and is a disgrace to your company.
I am available for further discussion at XXX-XXX-XXXX. I would greatly appreciate a response to this communication, either written or verbal
Thank You in Advance
I’ve received dozens of emails related to problems and complaints against LabCorp. From those who have filed lawsuits against them to physicians that are fed up with service related issues. I will respond to them all this week. Since this is something that I do on the side because of the poor attitude of LabCorp company manager and executives, I can only do it during down time. Sorry about that.
The retail business has many dynamics. It’s a business that I know well. Relating these principles to LabCorp’s operation, it is hard to believe that there are so many patients that will never set foot in a LabCorp center again. Yet the company and its executives do not seem to be doing anything about it. It’s a real shame how a company can believe that they are so omnipotent that they can do whatever they want. Our country’s laws and regulations are established for these particular instances. They will eventually catch up to LabCorp. The government agencies will move in and that’s when you will see them change.
I also believe that the tough economy will severely affect LabCorp and their view of the customer. In my opinion, they see the customer as the HMO, insurance company or 3rd party payer. The patient is seen as a secondary factor when in fact it is all about the patient. Poor results or worst yet, no results, will not only anger the patients but also the payer as the patient will start complaining. Why do these managers and executives not see this? Oh well, they will when the 3rd party payers start cancelling contracts because of malpractice lawsuits. And the doctors that send them the specimens for results? They will eventually get tired of poor results that affect the lives of their patients. I believe that doctors generally care more about their patients than the lower prices offered by LabCorp. That will also work against LabCorp. When will this company wake up to reality?
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