BHG Behavioral Health Group recently notified patients of a December 2021 breach
If you know to scroll down on BHG Behavioral Health Group‘s website to their footer, you will see a small link to an undated data security incident notice.
That undated notice does not reveal when Behavioral Health Group first discovered the data security incident or how they first discovered it. The notice does state, however, that an investigation revealed that some files and folders were “potentially removed” from its network on December 5, 2021. Protected health information in those files and folders included the individuals’ full name, Social Security number, driver’s license or state identification number, financial account information, payment card information, passport, biometrics, health insurance information, and/or medical information, including medical diagnosis and treatment, medication information, dates of service, and/or medical record number.
BHG specializes in addiction and recovery treatment services, including medication-assisted treatment, behavioral health therapy, and counseling. They describe themselves as the largest network of Joint Commission-accredited outpatient OUD (Opioid Use Disorder) treatment and recovery centers in the U.S., providing comprehensive services to tens of thousands of individuals and their communities across the country.
The incident does not currently appear on any dark web leak site related to ransomware groups or markets, or forums where stolen data is offered for sale, free download, or trade, but of course, that does not mean that data has not or will not be misused in the future. BHG is covered by HIPAA, 42CFR Part 2, and 42CFR Part 8, yet suggest that notifications sent on July 27 were sent “out of an abundance of caution.”
BHG has no evidence to suggest that any information has been misused. However, out of an abundance of caution, on July 27, 2022, BHG provided notification to individuals whose information may have contained in the impacted files and folders.
Once again, DataBreaches calls on entities and HHS OCR to stop the use of any language that suggests notification is voluntary or optional when it is required by regulation.
BHG’s full substitute notice with mitigation offerings and advice can be found on its website.
This incident does not yet appear on HHS’s public breach tool, and the number of patients affected has not yet been publicly revealed. BHG has reported the incident to state attorneys general including Montana, Massachusetts and Texas (where they are headquartered), so publication on HHS’s breach tool may be soon.
NOTE: This incident was first reported in media in December 2021.
Update: This incident was reported to HHS by BHG on July 27, 2022 as impacting 197,507 patients.