Health Information Management

Hospital email hack compromises PHI of 4,400 patients

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 23, 2015

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Hackers gained access to the email accounts of employees at St. Mary’s Health in Evansville, Indiana, by uncovering their usernames and passwords. The hack exposed the PHI of nearly 4,400 St. Mary’s patients, according to a breach notice.
 
What’s more, some have speculated that St. Mary’s may have violated the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule as it appears it did not notify individuals of the breach within 60 days of initial discovery.
 
On December 3, 2014, St. Mary’s learned that its employees’ usernames and passwords were compromised. After launching an investigation, the healthcare facility discovered January 8 that the compromised email accounts contained patient PHI. St. Mary’s posted a breach notification letter on its website March 5 stating that it would also notify affected individuals by mail and alert media outlets.
 
PHI linked to the compromised email accounts included:
  • Names
  • Dates of birth
  • Gender
  • Dates of service
  • Insurance information
  • Limited health information
  • Some Social Security numbers
 
This article originally appeared on HCPro’s HIPAA Update blog. Stay up to date on all things HIPAA by signing up for e-mail updates from this blog.

 

 



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