Hospital chain Community Health Systems, which suffered a massive breach of protected health information, on August 20 will formally notify the HHS Office for Civil Rights and media outlets and begin the patient notification process, as well as post notices on its websites, a spokesperson tells Health Data Management.

The 206-hospital organization disclosed the breach on August 18 in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the hacking of ambulatory patient data including Social Security numbers for 4.5 million patients is a “material event” that publicly held companies must immediately report. CHS believes the hacking originated from a ring in China with attacks occurring in April and June 2014. Affected patients will receive identity protection services at no cost for one year. In addition to SSNs, other compromised data included names, addresses, birthdates and telephone numbers--a perfect recipe for fraud.

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