HIPAA Journal is the leading provider of news, updates, and independent advice for HIPAA compliance

MyEyeDr. Patients Notified of Ransomware Attack and Improper Disposal Incident

MyEyeDr. Optometry of Colorado P.C, a network of vision care offices, is notifying 1,475 Colorado residents that some of their protected health information was potentially compromised prior to a recent ransomware attack.

Certain MyEyeDr. systems were accessed by the attacker on December 11, 2019 and ransomware was downloaded and deployed. Steps were immediately taken by MyEyeDr. to prevent further unauthorized access and restore all affected records. The ransom was not paid.

While it was possible to restore the majority of encrypted data, some files could not be recovered and remain encrypted. A third-party computer forensics firm was engaged to investigate the attack and determine whether any data had been stolen prior to file encryption. The forensics firm found no evidence to suggest data had been exfiltrated and the attack is believed to have only involved file encryption with a view to extorting money from MyEyeDr.

A review of the affected systems revealed they contained patient information such as names, dates of birth, diagnoses, clinical information, and treatment information. Affected patients had received services at MyEyeDr. locations in Colorado between December 1 and December 10, 2019 inclusive.

Please see the HIPAA Journal Privacy Policy

3 Steps To HIPAA Compliance

Please see HIPAA Journal
privacy policy

  • Step 1 : Download Checklist.
  • Step 2 : Review Your Business.
  • Step 3 : Get Compliant!

The HIPAA Journal compliance checklist provides the top priorities for your organization to become fully HIPAA compliant.

Improper Disposal incident Affects 7,983 patients of Today’s Vision Willowbrook

MyEyeDr. has also announced a separate incident that resulted in the exposure of the protected health information of 7,983 patients of Today’s Vision Willowbrook, which was acquired by Capital Vision Services d/b/a MyEyeDr. in February 2019.

On or around May 21, 2019, MyEyeDr. discovered historic records of Today’s Vision Willowbrook patients had been disposed of in an improper manner. The records had been discarded in a dumpster near Tomball, Texas, instead of being securely destroyed.

The records contained information such as names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, clinical information, and billing information and related to patients who visited Today’s Vision Willowbrook between 1997 and 2003.

The incorrect disposal was reported by the media. Local law enforcement officers visited and collected the records. MrEyeDr. said “Based on the prompt action of the Tomball police in securing the records, there is no indication that any unauthorized third parties had or will have an opportunity to misuse any of the patient information contained in the records at issue.”

MyEyeDr. has confirmed that the records were never in the possession of any MyEyeDr. employees and the records do not appear to have been dumped by employees of Today’s Vision Willowbrook.

Monroe County Hospital & Clinics Email Breach Impacts 7,500 Patients

Albia, IA-based Monroe County Hospital & Clinics has discovered an unauthorized individual has gained access to its email system and potentially viewed or obtained the protected health information of approximately 7,500 patients.

The attack was discovered on December 19, 2019 and a computer forensic expert was engaged to investigate the breach and determine the size and scope of the attack. The investigation revealed several employee email accounts had been accessed by unknown individuals between October 28, 2019 and January 20, 2020.

The compromised accounts were discovered to contain protected health information. The exposed information varied from patient to patient and may have included name, address, date of birth, medical record number, date(s) of service, insurance status, payor type, diagnosis codes, reason for visits, and other treatment related information. Some patients also had their Social Security number exposed. Complimentary membership to credit monitoring services has been offered to affected individuals.

Upon discovery of the breach, passwords were reset to prevent further unauthorized account access and employees have been provided with further security awareness training. Additional security measures are also being considered to prevent attacks in the future.

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.