NORRISTOWN – The Montgomery County Workplace of Public Well being disclosed that private well being data associated to COVID circumstances and publicity in Montgomery County faculties was made public in error.
The discharge of the unwritten data as a part of a Proper to Know Act request included private data for college students and college workers between the interval of September and November 2020.
Social safety numbers weren’t included within the assertion.
The non-public data was produced in response to a Proper to Know Act request filed with the Montgomery County Open Information Workplace on March 1 and consists of the coed’s identify, an identification quantity assigned for inside Workplace functions of Public Well being, date of beginning, age, gender, COVID check lab experiences with dates, identify of faculty, grade at the moment attending, and extra feedback associated to the coed’s most up-to-date day at school, signs, and / or or publicity to COVID.
Such private data is exempt from public disclosure beneath the Proper to Know Act and health-related data is protected against disclosure beneath the Well being Info Portability and Accountability Act, higher referred to as HIPAA.
As an alternative of offering a redacted PDF doc, the county inadvertently hooked up the unique Excel spreadsheet with a number of tabs containing the private well being data and different private data to the file.
This data was launched round March 15, in keeping with county officers. The county grew to become conscious of the error on Could 21.
Instantly after the discharge, the county investigated and took fast motion to treatment the scenario and stop future entry, use and disclosure of the data, the county mentioned in a press launch issued Friday afternoon.
Montgomery County recognized the recipients of the PDF doc and requested that the recipients delete all private data and that there be no additional dissemination of the data, in keeping with the assertion.
As a part of mitigation efforts, the county has reviewed its insurance policies on this difficulty and is within the course of of constructing the required revisions, the assertion mentioned. The county can also be reviewing its coaching supplies to make sure the required additions or clarifications are applied to forestall such incidents sooner or later.
The county notified all affected residents by mail, in addition to the Secretary of the US Division of Well being and Human Providers, as required by regulation. He alerted the media of the incident by e mail on Friday afternoon.