Big Breach at NYC Hospitals

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New York City Health & Hospitals Corp. is notifying 1.7 million patients, staff, employees of vendors and others who received services at two hospitals and two clinics during the past 20 years that some of their protected health information has been breached.

Computer backup tapes were stolen from the truck of a contractor on Dec. 23, according to a HHC statement and letter of notification to affected patients. Types of protected information on the tapes included name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, medical records, insurance details, diagnosis and treatment information, and birth, admission and discharge dates. “The data in the stolen files is not readily accessible without highly specialized technical expertise and data-mining tools, and there is no evidence to indicate that the information has been accessed and misused,” according to the HHC statement.

The affected facilities are Jacobi Medical Center, North Central Bronx Hospital, Tremont Health Center and Gunhill Health Center. In notification letters, HHC is offering affected individuals one year of free credit monitoring and fraud resolution services from Debix. HHC has terminated its contract with the responsible contractor and has filed suit to hold the contractor liable for costs related to the breach.

The organization’s statement and samples of notification letters, which were sent in 17 languages, are available here.

--Joseph Goedert


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