Hospice of Alamance Caswell in Burlington, N.C., has notified 5,370 patients or next of kin that their protected health information was compromised following a burglary at the organization’s main office.
Local police arrested two 19-year-old men who allegedly broke into the building, discharged fire extinguishers and stole three laptop computers as well as miscellaneous items, according to a statement from the hospice. Patient data on the laptops was encrypted but emails containing protected information on a small number of patients were not.
The burglars, however, had access to paper medical and billing records. The records included patient name, address, phone number, date of birth, insurance number, medications and full or partial Social Security numbers. “Although it does not appear that the files were viewed, Hospice has no way of knowing whether the files were actually viewed,” according to the statement. “As of this date, Hospice has not received any indication that the information has been accessed or used by an unauthorized individual.” The Hospice is offering free credit monitoring services for one year.
Peter Barcus, executive director at the hospice, told the Burlington Times-News that the organization is encrypting emails, changing codes and passwords, and adding more surveillance cameras.
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