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Cyberattack on Florida Heart Associates Potentially Affects 45,000 Patients

Florida Heart Associates is notifying 45,148 patients about a recent security breach in which their personal and protected health information may have been compromised. The security breach was detected on or around May 19, 2021, when unusual activity was spotted within certain networked computers.

Steps were immediately taken to contain the breach and secure personal information and an investigation was launched to determine the nature and scope of the breach. Florida Heart Associates determined that its computer network was breached between May 9 and May 19, 2021.

Security systems had been implemented prior to the breach which limited the impact of the intrusion; however, it is possible that the attackers gained access to servers on which patient information was stored. The impacted servers contained names, member identification numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and health insurance information, all of which may have been accessed.

Florida Heart Associates said in its substitute breach notice that no indications have been received to suggest any information on the compromised servers has been misused.

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Florida Heart Associates said the investigation into the breach is ongoing and steps have been and will continue to be taken to improve data privacy and security. Additional safeguards will be implemented, and policies and procedures are being reviewed and will be updated. The breach has been reported to the Maine Attorney General as a ransomware attack.

Affected individuals are being encouraged to remain vigilant and should review their accounts statements, credit reports, and explanation of benefits statements for signs of identity theft and fraud.

“We understand how important it is for our clients to receive uninterrupted cardiac care services and will resume our regular services and care as soon as possible,” said Florida Heart Associates. “We apologize for any inconvenience that may have arose as a result of this incident. In the meantime, we ask for your understanding and patience.”

Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.