The Orange County Register reports that California's La Palma Intercommunity Hospital recently began notifying an undisclosed number of patients that their personal information may have been inappropriately accessed by a former employee (h/t Becker's Hospital CIO).

Hospital CFO Alan H. Smith says the hospital learned in September 2012 that an employee had accessed the affected patients' personal information, including their Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, addresses, birthdates and limited medical information.

The hospital hasn't explained why it took well over a year to notify affected patients, though it did state that the employee in question has been fired.

"We sincerely apologize for any conern or inconvenience this incident may cause you," Smith wrote in the notification letter. "The security and confidentiality of our patients' personal information is extremely important to us. Our hospital has taken measures to protected against future attacks of this nature."

All affected patients are being offered free access to credit monitoring services.

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