Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago has publicly announced the June 1 theft of a laptop containing protected information on about 7,000 patients.

Information on the laptop included patient names, dates of birth, encounter numbers and some Social Security numbers.

Upon completing an internal review, CCHHS issued a press release on Aug. 20 detailing the theft and has begun notifying patients. The release was sent to local media but not posted on the organization's Web site, and as of Aug. 23 there is no public announcement on the site.

Because the theft was reported on June 1, the organization apparently did not meet the federal breach notification law requirement to inform affected patients within 60 days after a breach is known. Officials did not return a telephone call asking for additional comment.

The laptop was password-protected but not encrypted.

--Joseph Goedert


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