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King of Prussia Dental Associates Announces Potential PHI Breach

King of Prussia Dental Associates (KOPDA) has announced that a third party may have gained access to a server containing the protected health information of its patients. The incident also impacts patients of its affiliate, Pediatric Dentistry of Collegeville.

KOPDA started experiencing problems with its computer network on or around June 1, 2016. The IT specialist employed by KOPDA started investigating the problems and became concerned that the issues may have been caused deliberately by a third party. In order to determine whether access to the network had been gained, KOPDA retained the services of a leading computer firm to conduct a thorough forensic analysis of its network.

On June 23, the forensics firm determined that a third party may have gained access to the server and the KOPDA network. On June 29, the firm also determined that the breach may have affected patients of Pediatric Dentistry of Collegeville.

Patients affected by the incident were mailed breach notification letters on September 9, 2016 and have been offered credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for a period of one year without charge.  Since there is a risk that data may have been obtained by unauthorized individuals, patients have been told to be vigilant.

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No reports of improper use of PHI have been received and no evidence has been uncovered to suggest the PHI of patients has been accessed, stolen, or used inappropriately, although this could not be ruled out. Data stored on the server included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, details of treatment provided to patients, and patient account numbers.

Steps are being taken to prevent future breaches of this nature from occurring. Those measures include strengthening firewalls, adopting IT best practices, and improving web server infrastructure security.  The matter has also been reported to law enforcement and the incident is being investigated.

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.