Alhambra, Calif.-based AHMC Healthcare recommended that 729,000 patients place fraud alerts on their credit files and monitor their credit reports as their personal information could be accessed from the stolen laptops.
Laptops with patient data stolen in Texas, California
The laptops taken from a hospital administration office contained names, Medicare and insurance identification numbers, diagnosis and procedure codes, and insurance and payment records. The affected patients were treated at Garfield Medical Center, Monterey Park Hospital, Greater El Monte Community Hospital, Whittier Hospital Medical Center, San Gabriel Valley Medical Center and Anaheim Regional Medical Center.
AHMC has reported that there is no reason to believe the information has been accessed or used.
At deadline, officials at the seven-hospital for-profit system had not responded to an attempt to determine whether the files were encrypted.
The hospital operator did say that it had recently hired an auditing company to perform a security risk assessment and in connection with that “will be expediting a policy of encrypting all laptops.”
In Texas, a laptop computer that stored unencrypted demographic information of about 5,500 patients was taken in early October from Seton Healthcare Family's McCarthy Community Health Center in Austin. Though Seton Healthcare Family requires that computers use encryption, the stolen laptop did not have the encryption software installed.
“Seton has taken steps to reduce the possibility of this happening again,” the organization, a division of St. Louis-based Ascension Health, said in a news release.
The patients were seen at Seton's McCarthy, Topfer and Kozmetsky clinics, and as part of Seton Total Health Partners, a program aimed at coordinating care for uninsured patients in order to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
The files on the laptop include names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, Seton medical record and patient account numbers, Social Security numbers, diagnoses, immunizations, insurance information. Seton said the organization does not believe the information has been used inappropriately, but is contacting those who might be affected and offering free identity theft protection for one year.
Police in both communities are investigating the thefts.
Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden
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