University of Utah Hospital and Clinics patients are bracing for the unknown as police and prosecutors investigate the theft of 2.2 million billing records filled with personal information. Authorities say the records, stolen out of a courier’s personal vehicle earlier this month, put the private data of patients from the past 16 years at risk.
Tuesday’s news was especially unsettling for people like Will Taylor, of West Valley City, whose premature daughter is a patient at University Hospital. Taylor has already been the victim of identity theft once, when thieves racked up credit card charges in his name. Even so, he was not panicking yet. ”I will ask [the hospital] what precautions I can take and what they are doing about it,” he said. Measures so far include offering free credit monitoring services for at least 1.3 million patients whose Social Security numbers were compromised, and a $1,000 reward for the return of the tapes – no questions asked. Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder and Lorris Betz, a senior vice president for health sciences for University Health Care, say the stolen records were on backup tapes designed to safeguard the records in case materials housed in the hospitals and clinics were destroyed