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Rhode Island Healthcare Provider Hacked: 3,000 Records Potentially Compromised

Rhode Island Ear, Nose and Throat Physicians Inc. (RIENT) is notifying 2,943 patients that some of their health information was stored on a server which was subjected to unauthorized access on June 19, 2019 when a hacker gained access to its network.

The breach was detected the same day and the network was secured. A third-party computer forensics firm was hired to assist with the investigation and help determine the nature and extent of the breach.

The compromised servers did not contain the medical records of all patients, only records of patients who received medical services between May 1, 2019 and June 12, 2019.  The forensic investigation did not uncover any evidence to suggest patient information was viewed or copied and no reports have been received to suggest patient information has been misused.

For the majority of affected patients, the breach was limited to names, dates of birth, and clinical information. A small subset of patients also had their Social Security number exposed.

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Patients whose Social Security number was exposed have been offered complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. RIENT is implementing additional technical safeguards to improve its security posture and prevent similar attacks in the future.

California Hospice Suffers Ransomware Attack

The Hospice of San Joaquin in Stockton, CA has announced that on July 2, 2019, hackers installed ransomware on its network and gained access to servers hosting the protected health information of 13,000 patients.

While the attackers had access to patient information, the hospice does not believe any personal information has been viewed, stolen, or misused by the attackers.

Since unauthorized data access and theft could not be ruled out with a high degree of certainty, patients have been notified about the breach. Individuals affected by the breach had their full name exposed along with their home address, patient ID number, diagnoses, and other sensitive information.

The hospice has already implemented additional security measures to prevent similar 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.