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Friday, March 21, 2014

Computers Stolen From SoCal Hospital Contain Information of Nearly 60,000 S.F. Patients

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM

click to enlarge As if being uninsured wasn't bad enough - FLICKR/YARUMAN5
  • Flickr/yaruman5
  • As if being uninsured wasn't bad enough

A day after we reported some 10,000 patients over at UCSF had their personal information breached, the San Francisco Department of Public Health announced that 60,000 more patients should might also be in the same boat.

Rachael Kagan, spokeswoman for the DPH, said on Feb. 5, someone broke into a Sutherland Healthcare Solutions campus in Torrance and stole computers that contained patient information from Sutherland clients, including the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Sutherland, which contracts with DPH to provide billing services, informed the Health Department earlier this week about the theft and said that about 55,900 San Franciscans' personal information was taken along with the computers. That includes names, billing information, social security numbers, dates and locations of service, as well as birthdates.

The majority of patients affected are uninsured and were treated at one of the San Francisco Department of Public Health facilities between August 2012 and November 2013, Kagan said.

"We take the security and privacy of patient information very seriously," said Barbara Garcia, the SFDPH director. "We are working to ensure that all patients are notified and provided with resources to help them protect their privacy."

No word on whether the thieves have tried to access or use the stolen personal information. If you're unsure whether you're a victim, stay tuned. Officials will be mailing out letters to affected patients next week. So check your mailbox.

If you learn that your information was stolen, Sutherland is offering San Francisco patients free credit monitoring and recovery services for one year with identity theft insurance coverage of up to $20,000. Starting on Monday, March 24, patients can call Sutherland's call center at 866-486-4809 or visit www.myidcare.com/idexpertshealthcareprotection to learn if they are affected and to access these services.

Until then, Sutherland is taking these steps to further protect patients in the future:

  • Encrypting all computers

  • Requiring all data be saved to share drives and not be saved on individual computers

  • Cabling desktop computers to desks


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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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