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Coronavirus Update: What patients and families need to know

A Notice to Families Whose Children Were Patients in Our NICU

Children’s National takes the privacy and confidentiality of our patients’ information very seriously. Regrettably, this notice is regarding a recent incident which may have involved some of that information.

On January 30, 2018, Children’s National learned that a laptop issued to a hospital neonatologist was stolen from his parked, locked car while the he was in a retail store. The doctor immediately notified the police and filed a police report. We immediately tried to locate the laptop and began an investigation to determine what information it contained. Our investigation confirmed that some NICU patients’ information may have been on the laptop, including patients’ names, dates of birth and medical information, including diagnosis and treatment information.

The laptop did not contain any financial information, social security numbers or insurance information.

While we have no indication that any of the information has been or will be accessed or used, out of an abundance of caution, on March 30, we mailed letters to parents of the patients whose information was contained on the laptop and established a dedicated call center to answer questions our patients’ families may have. If you believe your child is affected and have not received a letter by April 20, 2018, please call 1 1-888-893-9317, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Eastern Time.

Children’s National has a policy that requires password protection and encryption on all devices and is taking steps to reinforce data encryption requirements throughout the organization. In light of this incident, it is our plan to redouble our efforts to ensure that all laptops are encrypted at all times and that all staff members who are issued laptops understand and follow best practices to safeguard the devices and the information contained on them.

Although there was no insurance information on the laptop, those families impacted are advised to monitor their Explanation of Benefits forms from their child’s health insurer to ensure there are no medical charges for which they did not receive service.

Aside from giving every child in our hospital the best care possible, our greatest commitment is to protecting our patients’ privacy. We are sorry for any inconvenience.