A laptop stolen from a car potentially exposed information of 43,000 individuals treated at Coplin Health System facilities.
The organization, which operates seven primary care facilities in parts of West Virginia and Ohio, reported that the laptop was stolen from a car in November. The computer was protected by unspecified security features and required a password to access, but the hard drive was not encrypted, the organization says.
In the letter to patients, Coplin Health said there is no reason to believe data was compromised, and it is unlikely personal information will be accessed as a result of the theft. However, the organization noted that the computer could contain names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, financial information and health information of patients.
Following the theft, the information technology department disabled the employee’s access to computer networks and continues to monitor the networks; it has not received any information from law enforcement or patients about data being accessed or used improperly. Also to date, there has been no attempt to use the computer to access Coplin Health’s networks.
Based on information collected by the organization and law enforcement, Coplin Health does not believe the theft was done with the intent to access personal information, nor would the thief have the knowledge and tools to bypass the laptop’s security protections, patients were told. “We also believe that the laptop probably did not contain any documents containing any patient’s personal information. This notice is being provided out of an abundance of caution and to comply with the letter and spirit of HIPAA.”
The notice includes no offer of protective services; patients are advised to place fraud alerts on credit reports and check the reports.
The organization noted it takes measures to ensure sensitive information is never inadvertently released and apologized for the concern and inconvenience of the situation.
Coplin Health executives did not respond to a request for additional information on the incident.
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