729,000 Patients’ Data Compromised by Laptop Thefts

The Los Angeles Times reports that the health information of 729,000 patients, including their Social Security numbers, may have been exposed when two password-protected but unencrypted laptops were stolen from a gated and video-monitored sixth-floor hospital administration office in Alhambra, Calif. (h/t PHIprivacy.net).

The laptops, which were stolen on October 12, 2013, contain data on patients who had been treated at AHMC hospitals including 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.

In addition to Social Security numbers, the laptops contained patient names, Medicare/insurance identification numbers, diagnosis/procedure codes, and insurance/patient payments.

The theft was discovered on October 14, 2013, and the hospital notified Alhambra police. An auditing firm has been hired to perform a security risk assessment, and AHMC says it’s now expediting a policy of encrypting all laptops.

All those affected are being advised to place fraud alerts on their credit files, and to contact (855) 977-6678 with any questions.

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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