Southwest Community Health Center – Notice of Data Security Event
Southwest Community Health Center (“Southwest”) recently discovered an more »
Southwest Community Health Center (“Southwest”) recently discovered an event that may affect the security of protected health information stored within our environment. This notice is meant to provide information about the event, steps taken since discovering the incident, and what potentially affected individuals can do to better protect against identity theft and fraud.
What Happened? On Saturday, April 8, 2017, Southwest’s 1046 Fairfield Avenue site was broken into and four desktop computers, one laptop, and other miscellaneous items were stolen. On Friday, April 14, 2017, there was another break in at Southwest’s 510 Clinton Avenue site. Two laptops and miscellaneous items were stolen from 510 Clinton Avenue during the break-in. Security alarms were activated and Southwest security and law enforcement immediately responded to the scene of each incident. Based upon a preliminary investigation into the four stolen desktop computers and the three stolen laptops, there is the possibility that protected health information may have been stored on the local drives or within email accounts stored locally to the devices. We have no reason to believe that the thieves have used or intend to use this information to commit fraud.
What Information Was Involved? After an exhaustive review of the information that may have been located within the stolen devices, we have determined that the following information related to patients could have been located within one or more of the stolen computers: Name, bank account number, Social Security Number, and medical information, which could include information such as diagnosis, admission information, insurance information, date of birth, and treatment information.
What Are We Doing? Southwest takes the security of our patients’ information very seriously. We are providing notice of this incident to potentially impacted individuals including information that can be used to protect against identity theft and fraud. We are also provided affected individuals with access to identity monitoring and restoration services at Southwest’s expense. We will be working with law enforcement and other third-parties to determine what can be done to better prevent a similar occurrence in the future. We are also reporting this incident to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What Affected Individuals Can Do. We encourage individuals to review the enclosed Steps You Can Take to Protect Against Identity Theft and Fraud and to enroll to receive the credit monitoring and identity protection services being offered.
For More Information: We realize you may have questions that are not addressed in this notice. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this incident or the services being offered to you, please call our dedicated assistance line at 888-721-6295, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m EST.
Southwest sincerely regrets any inconvenience or concern this incident has caused.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Against Identity Theft and Fraud
To further protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage individuals to remain vigilant, to review their account statements, and to monitor their credit reports for suspicious activity. Under U.S. law, individuals are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. Individuals may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of their credit report.
We recommend that individuals regularly review any Explanation of Benefits statements that they receive from their insurer. If individuals see any service that they believe they did not receive, they should contact the insurer at the number on the statement. If individuals do not receive regular Explanation of Benefits statements, contact the insurer and request that they send such statements following the provision of services in their name or number.
Individuals may want to order copies of their credit reports and check for any items or medical bills that they do not recognize. If they find anything suspicious, they can call the credit reporting agency at the phone number on the report. We advise individuals to keep a copy of this notice for their records in case of future problems with their records. Individuals may also want to request a copy of their medical records from their provider, to serve as a baseline.
At no charge, individuals can also have these credit bureaus place a “fraud alert’ on their file that alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify an individual’s identity prior to granting credit in their name. Note, however, that because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect individuals, it may also delay an individual’s ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies the person’s identity. As soon as one credit bureau confirms the fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on the file. Should an individual wish to place a fraud alert, or should they have any questions regarding your credit report, they may contact any one of the agencies listed below.
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
Individuals may also place a security freeze on their credit reports. A security freeze prohibits a credit bureau from releasing any information from a consumer’s credit report without the consumer’s written authorization. However, please be advised that placing a security freeze on a credit report may delay, interfere with, or prevent the timely approval of any requests an individual makes for new loans, credit mortgages, employment, housing or other services. To find our more on how to place a security freeze, they can use the following contact information:
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
(NY residents please call
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
Individuals can further educate themselves regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes, and the steps they can take to protect themselves, by contacting their state Attorney General or the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.ftc.gov/idtheft; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Individuals should report known or suspected identity theft or fraud to law enforcement, the FTC, and their state Attorney General.
If you would like a downloadable copy of this information, please click the link below.