Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, N.H., has notified nearly 6,000 patients of a breach of protected health information following the theft of a laptop.

The laptop was stolen April 4 from an employee’s car, the hospital announced. The Manchester Union-Leader reported the hospital has sent notification letters to 5,994 patients. Protected information on the password-protected but unencrypted laptop included names, addresses, hospital account numbers, medical record numbers, physician names, dates of service and diagnosis and procedure codes. One patient’s Social Security number also was listed.

The employee, a management level administrator, improperly transferred the information from a secure server to the laptop and has resigned, reports WMUR Channel 9 in New Hampshire.

The hospital is offering credit and protection services to the one patient whose Social Security number, in a file separate from the other data, was on the laptop, according to a spokesperson. The hospital decided not to offer such services to other affected patients because no other Social Security, credit/debit card or insurance identification numbers were on the computer.

--Joseph Goedert


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