Wisconsin Hospital Suffers Security Breach

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Froedtert Health, based in Milwaukee, Wis., recently announced that on December 14, 2012, a computer virus was discovered that had given an "unauthorized person" access to an employee's work computer account, which contained data on 43,000 patients.

"We immediately began an investigation and hired an expert computer forensics company to examine what happened," the organization stated in a security notice. "The forensics company could not definitively rule out the possibility the virus was able to obtain information stored in the employee's work computer account. A file in the employee's work computer account contained some patients’ information, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, medical record numbers, names of health insurers, diagnoses, other clinical information, and in some instances Social Security numbers."

"Letters were mailed this week to approximately 43,000 patients whose records may have been affected," WISN reports. "These patients received care at Froedtert Health affiliates Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee; Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls; St. Joseph’s Hospital, West Bend; and Froedtert Health Medical Group (formerly known as Medical Associates of Menomonee Falls and the West Bend Clinic)."

"A report published this week by IT security audit firm Redspin revealed that in 2012, 38 percent of all large-scale healthcare data breaches -- those that impact 500 or more individuals -- occurred on a laptop or other portable device," writes FierceHealthIT's Dan Bowman. "The updated HIPAA regulation, unveiled last month, increased fines for data breaches to as much as $50,000 per episode in cases of 'willful neglect' of information without correction, and $1.5 million for multiple violations of identical incidences."

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