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Posted on: July 10, 2018

Potential Breach of Unsecured Protected Health Information for Adults in Mental Health Therapy Group

This notification is to inform adult participants in mental health therapy groups that were conducted by the Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services (MHSADS), between May 2010 and May 2018, of the potential exposure of protected health information to others in the therapy groups.
On May 25, 2018, MHSADS discovered a potential documentation issue within certain group therapy notes. The department immediately began an inquiry to identify the documentation affected. During the review, MHSADS discovered the first or preferred names (no last names) of some adult therapy group participants and information regarding group participation were included in the health records of other group members. The participant information in the group notes may have been released or disclosed if/when the health records of group members were released.
In some cases, affected participants have been contacted by MHSADS directly by U.S. mail. The department does not have current mailing addresses for all who may be impacted; therefore, in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), this notice on the county’s website is necessary.

We regret that this documentation error occurred. We have identified the clinician who included this information and took immediate steps to stop the documentation practice. Further, we are providing training to other clinical staff in an effort to prevent this from occurring in the future.
If you are a past participant in adult mental health therapy groups and have questions about whether you are included in the list of people whose information may have been released or disclosed, please call 1-833-650-1757.

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