Data Breach at Hope Family Health

September 8th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

An unencrypted laptop containing 8,000 patients’ personal information was stolen which was under possession of a finance department employee of Hope Family Health of Westmoreland, Tennessee.

Patients who visited the organization between 2005 and August 2013 were notified via mail that their names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth have been potentially compromised as a result of the breach. “The information was password-protected; however, it was not encrypted. We don’t believe that anyone’s information has been accessed or used in any way that could cause harm.” said Chief Compliance Officer Joey Forman.

The laptop has yet to be recovered and though Hope has advised patients to check up on their credit and identity monitoring, it didn’t offer a year of free monitoring or a similar program. Hope has said that it has augmented security by moving all protected health information over to a state-of-the-art encrypted database server. “We have spent a lot of money and time to avoid anything like this from ever taking place again,” he said.

Since the theft, Hope Family Health has taken several measures to increase security, which included moving all protected health information over to a state-of-the-art encrypted database server, said Forman.

“We have spent a lot of money and time to avoid anything like this from ever taking place again,” he said.

Those whose personal information is included in any data breach should place a fraud alert or security freeze on their credit reports to help protect against new account fraud, said Michele Cacdac-Jones, spokeswoman for Equifax, a credit-monitoring company. Affected individuals should keep an eye on their credit and financial reports regularly, as identity thieves sometimes take a year or more to use someone’s information, she said.

Alertsec strengthens security

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Organizations, especially corporate giants, have to have an information security policy in place that proves they have taken necessary steps and measures to safeguard the information they gathered. If these policies are not adhered to, the regulators may prosecute.

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