A notice has been issued to more than 168,000 patients informing them that their personal and medical data could be at risk after computers were stolen from a firm that handles billing and collections for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and Department of Public Health.

The theft occurred Feb. 5 at the Torrance, Calif. office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, and the vendor immediately informed the police. Although an investigation is still ongoing, the firm issued a notice on March 6. "As a result of our analysis, on February 25, 2014, we confirmed to Los Angeles County that your personal information was identified as being on the stolen computer equipment," stated the letter from Sutherland Healthcare Solutions to impacted patients. "The computers contained personal information including your first and last name, Social Security number, and billing information. In addition, the stolen computers may have included your date of birth, address, diagnoses and other medical information."

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According to the Los Angeles Times, the district attorney's cyber investigation team is working with the Torrance Police Department and other law enforcement agencies on a criminal investigation. Los Angeles County Assistant Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell is quoted saying that the county will be looking into the contract with Sutherland Healthcare Solutions and procedures that were in place to see if the breach could have been prevented.

Affected patients are being offered 12 months of credit/fraud/identity protection services through ID Experts.

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