New Mexico Oncology and Hematology Consultants (NMOHC) recently began notifying 12,354 patients that their personal information may have been exposed when a laptop was stolen from an employee's office (h/t SC Magazine).

The laptop may have contained a wide range of protected health information (PHI), including names, birthdates, addresses, diagnostic results or information related to treatment and insurance information. No Social Security numbers or driver's license numbers were on the laptop.

While NMOHC isn't aware of any abuse of the information, all those affected are being notified, and are being advised to monitor their credit reports and financial accounts for any unauthorized activity.

"While NMOHC hopes to recover the stolen computer and PHI, that may not be possible," the organization said in a statement on its Web site. "In an attempt to prevent further breaches of PHI, NMOHC has increased physical security safeguards as well as implementing additional security safeguards on all laptops. NMOHC is also strengthening other aspects of its internal HIPAA security program."

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