Thursday, October 24, 2013

Health Facilities in California, Texas Report Health Data Breaches

Two recent data breaches involving stolen laptops in California and Texas have compromised the personal data of thousands of patients, Modern Healthcare reports (Landen, Modern Healthcare, 10/22).

Details of California Breach

On Monday, officials at AHMC Healthcare -- based in Alhambra, Calif., -- reported the theft of two laptops containing the personal health information of 729,000 patients (Winton, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 10/21).
The theft occurred on Oct. 12 and was discovered on Oct. 14, according to officials.
Data on the laptops included patients':
  • Names;
  • Diagnosis and procedure codes;
  • Insurance numbers;
  • Insurance and payment details;
  • Medicare ID numbers; and
  • Social Security numbers (Goedert, Health Data Management, 10/22).
Hospital officials said that laptops were password-protected and that there is no evidence the information has been accessed. However, they recommended that affected patients check their credit reports for fraud (AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/21).
On Tuesday, Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said that detectives are looking for a suspect who was identified by reviewing the facility's video surveillance system (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/22).

Details of Texas Breach

On Tuesday, officials at Seton Healthcare Family reported that a hospital laptop containing the personal health information of about 5,500 patients was stolen between Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, theAustin American-Statesman reports.
Seton officials said the laptop was discovered missing from the Seton McCarthy Clinic in East Austin on Oct. 4 and the situation was immediately reported to the police. They said they will contact individuals affected by the breach.
The laptop contained data including patients':
  • Names;
  • Addresses;
  • Phone Numbers;
  • Birth dates;
  • Insurance information;
  • Medical record numbers;
  • Diagnoses; and
  • Immunization details.
Seton officials said they do not believe the patient information "has been used inappropriately," but they said "a missed technology glitch during installation" caused the laptop to remain unencrypted (Grisales, Austin American-Statesman, 10/22).

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