Arkansas Hospital Notifies 1,800 Patients of ID Fraud

July 3, 2008

A woman has been arrested for using financial information from patients at Baptist Health in Little Rock, Arks., to illegally obtain Wal-Mart gift cards for her own use, and the hospital has notified about 1,800 patrons of the ID theft.

Tamara Hill, 30, of North Little Rock was fired in early June after being arrested at a Wal-Mart store on 25 counts of identity fraud, officials said.

North Little Rock police say Hill worked in the emergency department at Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock.

The patient notification, which was reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, followed Hill’s arrest. Hill was an admissions clerk and was arrested on May 30 at a new Wal-Mart Supercenter on Maumelle Boulevard.

Baptist Health logs more than 950,000 patient visits per year, though that number includes repeat visits, spokesman Mark Lowman said. He confirmed that Hill was fired after the hospital system learned of her arrest.

A second woman, Ebony Flowers, 25, also of North Little Rock, was arrested at the store the same day on three counts of identity fraud, according to police reports. Flowers worked as a janitor for the North Little Rock School District.

Baptist Health’s operations in Arkansas also include Baptist Health Medical Center hospital in Little Rock and hospitals in Arkadelphia, Heber Springs and North Little Rock.

Police reports say the women used information from the patients to get account authorization numbers for credit cards that they would use to purchase Wal-Mart gift cards.

A search conducted as part of the investigation turned up personal information for more than two dozen Baptist Health patients on computer printouts. Investigators also found Wal-Mart gift cards and $1,490 in cash, according to the reports.

Police also reported that they found a small bag of marijuana on Flowers and, in a search, found a .25-caliber magazine with six bullets, as well as a receipt for four of the gift cards and information on three-identity theft victims.

The hospital warned the affected patients that their “name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and reason for coming to Baptist Health, was accessed by an unauthorized person.”

Several weeks passed before patients were notified by the letter, the newspaper reported. Baptist Health sent the letter after it learned more of the scope of the police investigation and audited what Hill had access to, Lowman said.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,

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