Saint Francis Healthcare Partners in Connecticut has begun making contact with 38,529 patients to make them aware that a portion of their protected health information may have been stolen by hackers as a result of a “sophisticated cybersecurity incident” that allowed an unauthorized individual to gain access to its email database.
The attack took place on December 30, 2019 but it was not until March 20, 2020 that the forensic investigation determined that patients’ protected health information was potentially impacted. The range of information stored in the email system that could have been taken included names, medical histories, medical record numbers, clinical and treatment information, dates of service, diagnoses, health insurance provider names, account numbers, prescription information and/or types of procedures performed. No financial information or Social Security numbers were impacted.
The investigation did not result in the discovery of any proof that patient information was accessed, stolen, or misused. Measures have now been taken to enhance data security practices and all impacted patients have been made aware of this via mail.
Meanwhile, Daniel Bendetowicz, MD, PA is making contact with 3,314 clients to alert them that their protected health information has been accessible as a result of a ransomware attack. The attack was identified on March 25, 2020 and resulted in the encryption of its computer systems, including patient records. Backup files were not impacted so files could be recovered without paying the ransom.
Ransomware attacks like this do no typically result in files being accessed by the attackers before file encryption; however, data access could not be 100% discounted so, as a result, notification letters have been sent to affected patients. Dr. Bendetowicz detailed in the breach notification letters that names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, health insurance information, and medical information were potentially accessed.
Identity theft protection services have been provided for all patients who may have been impacted in the breach. New measures have also been implemented to enhance security to protect against any attacks in the future.