Fraser Health sorry for privacy breach in Surrey

Personal information of home health clients lost, including access codes to three homes

Fraser Health says it's acknowledging the severity of its privacy breach and taking steps to prevent a repeat.

Fraser Health says it's acknowledging the severity of its privacy breach and taking steps to prevent a repeat.

Fraser Health is apologizing after the loss of personal information of 121 of its Surrey-area home health clients.

Spokesperson Erin Labbé said a notebook containing the information was reported missing Sept. 25 by an employee at Newton Home Health.

All the affected clients – mostly seniors who get in-home care – were immediately contacted by phone and additional letters warning about the risk of identity theft went out to 58 clients whose lost information included their personal health number.

The notebook also contained access codes to lock boxes containing keys to the homes of three clients. They’ve been urged to change their codes.

“The loss of personal and private information is extremely concerning,” Labbé said. “We know that this type of situation can be very upsetting for our clients, and we apologize for the worry and trouble that it may cause.”

Fraser Health offered to buy them one-year subscriptions to a credit monitoring service.

Labbé said affected clients have also been urged to watch for fraudulent bank and credit card transactions and advised on how to protect themselves at home if someone arrives impersonating one of Fraser’s Home Health employees.

She said there’s been no sign of any fraudulent activity so far.

The incident was reported to B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and Fraser Health is reviewing its information-handling procedures with all its Home Health staff across the region, urging them to use locked storage and not leave such material unattended.

“We acknowledge the severity of any privacy breach and understand the concerns our clients may have as a result of this situation.”

The notebook is still missing despite a full search.