Computer stolen from Cook County Health & Hospitals System contained patient data

Cook County Health & Hospitals System in Illinois has notified the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services that 556 patients had data on a computer that was stolen on or about November 1.

Although the report to HHS indicates “theft,” CCHHS posted a notice on their web site yesterday that refers to a missing computer:

In November, a password-protected desktop computer was reported missing from a locked area in the Fantus Ambulatory Screening Center, located at 637 S. Winchester. Notifications to the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Police Department and the Chicago Police Department were made, police reports were filed, and Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) conducted an internal investigation of the incident.

During the investigation, CCHHS determined information contained on the desktop computer included some password-protected files with medical record identification numbers, some names, some birth dates, clinic names, physician names, and the results of certain laboratory tests. None of the files included Social Security numbers. Although the desktop computer and the files containing patient information were separately password-protected, there is a chance the information could be viewed. Some of your information was in a password-protected file on the missing desktop computer. There is no evidence to believe that any of your information has been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes.

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This is the hospital system’s second incident in recent months. In August, the hospital system reported that a computer stolen from a locked administrative office contained information on 7,000 patients.

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