AltaMed, BlueShield of California notify patients and regulators after breach at Sharecare Health Data Services
From their press release, and I’ll meet you on the other side:
AltaMed Health Services Corporation (“AltaMed”) has become aware of a data security incident experienced by its business associate, Sharecare Health Data Services (“SHDS”), that may have involved the personal and protected health information of some of its patients. AltaMed has sent notification letters to the potentially impacted individuals to notify them of this incident and to provide resources to assist them.
On December 31, 2018, SHDS informed AltaMed that it had experienced a data security incident involving the SHDS network which affected information belonging to certain AltaMed patients. In doing so, SHDS stated that it first detected abnormal activity within the SHDS network on June 22, 2018 and that it ultimately determined that an unauthorized third-party gained access to the SHDS network as early as May 21, 2018. According to SHDS, its investigation relating to this incident revealed that the unauthorized third-party accessed and/or acquired files containing AltaMed patient information. This information may have included patient names, addresses, dates of birth, and unique identification numbers. It may also have included names and addresses of facilities that provided health services and, in some instances, medical record numbers, and / or internal SHDS processing notes.
This incident was not the result of any action or inaction by AltaMed and did not affect the integrity or security of AltaMed’s digital environment. AltaMed takes the security of information belonging to its patients very seriously and, since learning of this incident, has worked diligently to identify those AltaMed patients whose information may have been affected for purposes of notification.
Notification letters mailed on February 15, 2019 include information about the incident and steps that potentially impacted individuals can take to monitor and protect their personal information. SHDS has established a toll-free call center to answer questions about the incident and to address related concerns. The call center can be reached at 1-877-676-0379. Although neither SHDS nor AltaMed are aware at this time of the misuse of any impacted information, potentially impacted individuals have also been offered complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection services through AllClear ID. Additional information and recommendations for protecting personal information will be available on the AltaMed website at www.altamed.org.
The privacy and protection of patient information is a top priority for AltaMed and AltaMed deeply regrets any inconvenience or concern that this incident may cause.