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The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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DHMH Press Releases : Satisfaction Survey Postcard Reminder Violated HIPAA Privacy Rule

Satisfaction Survey Postcard Reminder Violated HIPAA Privacy Rule

Baltimore, MD (May 2,  2014) -- The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) contracts with a vendor, Inclusion Research Institute, whose subcontractor is M. Davis and Company, to conduct Quality of Life surveys for individuals receiving services.  These satisfaction surveys are sent out on an annual basis to individuals.

In February 2014, the subcontractor mailed postcards to approximately 2200 individuals reminding them to fill out the survey and return the results.  The postcards were addressed to individuals and indicated that they were receiving the notification because they receive services from DDA.  As the postcard was not enclosed in an envelope, the fact that the individual was receiving DDA services, which is protected health information, was publicly viewable. This is a breach of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

DDA was notified on March 3, 2014 of this concern and promptly contacted the vendor.  The vendor is in the process of notifying the affected individuals and will correct this deficiency for future mailings.



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