BUFFALO, N.Y. - Officials at the DENT Neurologic Institute in Amherst say they mistakenly sent out an e-mail to 200 people that included an attachment listing personal information of 10,000 patients.
The attachment included the following personal information:
• Active/Former Patient
• Last Appointment
• Visit Type
• Primary Physician
• Referring Physician
Monday night, DENT called the 200 people who mistakenly received the attachment and asked them to delete it. DENT now says it is going to send a letter to each of the 10,000 people who were on the list, explaining what happened.
DENT's CEO, Joseph Fritz, says the accidental release of information is "mortifying." Fritz says that DENT is required to notify the State Health Department as well as federal officials about what happened.
DENT released this statement in a press release Tuesday.
"We are very sorry this happened and we deeply apologize to all of our patients, referring physicians and WNY healthcare partners," Fritz said. "Patient confidentiality is extremely important in our field and we take it very seriously and we will review how this accident happened so we can steps to minimize the possibilities it could ever happen again. This is an inexcusable event."
Fritz said the list was mistakenly attached to a routine e-mail that was being sent to patients by a clerk in the DNI administrative office. "This was a case of human error and the person involved is a dedicated, long-term employee and there was absolutely no malice involved, but that doesn't excuse it," he said.
Fritz said DNI has self-reported the event to the New York Department of Health and take whatever steps the state requires. In addition, DNI will send a letter of apology and explanation to all 10,000 patients and their referring physicians, whose names were on the list.
Patients who have questions are asked to call the Dent Neurologic Institute at 716-250-2000."
If you are one of the patients who received the e-mail containing patient information and would like to speak with 2 On Your Side, please send us an e-mail.