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Archive for Data Breach

Cyber criminals hacked into part of a computer network at UCLA Health System in California, compromising records of at least 4.5 million people, the university hospital system reported on Friday.

There is no evidence yet the hackers obtained access to or acquired individuals’ PHI, although the compromised areas of the network do contain names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, medical record numbers, Medicare or health plan numbers, and other medical information, according to a statement from UCLA Health.

The health system is working with the FBI and has also hired private computer forensic experts to secure information on network servers.

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cadeucus-medicalAnyone who has a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) health insurance plan, with a few exceptions, should have free identity protection services as of January 1, 2016.

The national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced July 14 that it would offer these free services as a permanent benefit to more than 106 million customers at all Blue companies nationwide.

This is the latest step in the health insurance giant’s efforts to protect customer safety and security in a world where cyber-attacks are a constant threat to every business and government entity. BCBS companies have, consequently, taken aggressive steps to protect their customers and lead the healthcare industry in cybersecurity, according to a press statement.

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hosp01St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston has agreed to a corrective action plan and civil fine of $218,400 with OCR to address deficiencies in its HIPAA compliance program following employee practices at the hospital that exposed ePHI on more than 1,000 patients.

OCR initially received a complaint in November 2012 that hospital employees were allegedly storing patient records containing PHI in an unsecure online document sharing application without analyzing the risks of doing so, according to a July 8 resolution agreement between OCR and St. Elizabeth’s. Those documents contained the ePHI of at least 498 patients.

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An Indiana-based EHR vendorsecuritycomputer and its subsidiary company were the victims of a sophisticated criminal cyber-attack last week that exposed the PHI of some patients at several of the vendor’s clients, according to a notice Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE) posted to its website June 10.

The statement did not say how many patients were affected, but did list the following affected clients, which were each notified of the breach:

  • Concentra
  • Fort Wayne Neurological Center
  • Franciscan St. Francis Health Indianapolis
  • Gynecology Center, Inc. Fort Wayne
  • Rochester Medical Group

The breach also affected MIE’s subsidiary, NoMoreClipboard, which is also based out of its Fort Wayne offices. A separate notice to those clients and patients was issued.

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A California hospital network that agreed to a $4.13 million settlement to a class-action lawsuit for exposing the PHI of more than 32,000 patients is now getting push back from its liability insurance provider about paying the claims.

In December 2013, it was discovered the health system and a third-party vendor, InSync, stored patients’ unencrypted electronic medical records on a database accessible to the Internet. So, potentially, patients’ PHI could have showed up in an online search engine for the world to see. There was no evidence that actually happened at the time, but Cottage Health had to notify 32,755 patients there PHI may have been publicly exposed.

The health system then agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by the patients. Chicago-based Columbia Casualty Company, Cottage Health’s liability insurer, paid the bill but then filed a complaint in federal court in May 2015, seeking repayment of the insurance claims.

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