The stolen billing records of more than 1.5 million University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics patients have been recovered, police and hospital officials confirmed Tuesday.

Few details were released about the tapes' recovery, and officials could not say if the records, which contained billing information, Social Security numbers and medical procedural codes dating back 16 years, were accessed by thieves.

"I can confirm the tapes were recovered, and that's about it," U. spokesman Phil Sahm said.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office has scheduled a 1 p.m. press conference for today to release details of the investigation and the tapes' recovery, Lt. Paul Jaroscak said. He would not confirm Tuesday if any arrests had been made.

On June 10, officials announced the hospital's master billing record had been stolen.

A courier, a longtime employee of Perpetual Storage Inc., picked up the tapes from the University Hospital on June 1 and was supposed to take the tapes to the company's secure vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Instead, he left the backup data in a gray metal box in his personal car overnight. Someone broke into the car and took the box with the tapes inside.

The theft was being investigated by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service.

Originally, officials said nearly 2.2 million patients had been affected, but that list was later narrowed to about 1.5 million.

When the theft was announced, police and hospital officials promised a $1,000 reward with no questions asked if the tapes were returned. Jaroscak would not say whether a reward had been paid out for the tapes.

Hospital officials had been mailing letters to patients whose records were stolen, offering one year of free credit-monitoring service. Sahm could not say if the hospital planned to change its procedures now that the tapes have been recovered.

A pair of proposed class-action lawsuits were filed in the wake of the theft. Patients Patrick Beamish and Thelma Keachie are claiming negligence on the part of the storage company and are seeking damages for problems that may arise from the breach of their personal information.

At the time Beamish's suit was filed, an attorney said the tapes' recovery would not stop a legal battle as thieves might be able to access the data and use it at a later date.


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