Forrest General Hospital patients notified after business associate breach involving protected health information

HORNE LLP (“HORNE”) is providing notice of an incident that occurred at HORNE and may affect the security of protected health information of certain Forrest General Hospital patients.  HORNE has access to these individuals’ personal health information as part of services HORNE provides for Forrest General Hospital with certain Medicaid reimbursement services.  While HORNE is unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of the information, this notice contains details about the incident and HORNE’s response, as well as steps impacted individuals can take to protect their information, should they feel it appropriate to do so. HORNE is providing this notice on behalf of Forrest General Hospital.

What Happened?  On November 1, 2017, HORNE discovered that the email account of one of its employees was sending phishing emails.  HORNE immediately launched an internal investigation and determined that the employee was the victim of a phishing attack and that the email account had been subject to unauthorized access from October 31, 2017 to November 1, 2017.   HORNE continued to investigate, with the assistance of a third party forensic investigator, to understand the nature and scope of the event, and whether any sensitive data was at risk.  On November 20, 2017, the third party forensic investigator confirmed that certain emails within the employee’s email account were subject to unauthorized access.  HORNE reviewed the emails to determine if any sensitive data was contained therein, and on November 27, 2017, HORNE confirmed that certain of the emails contained an attachment with protected health information of certain patients of Forrest General Hospital.

What Information Was Involved?  The data elements located within the attachment included some combination of the patients’ name, Medicaid identification number, date of birth, patient account number, dates of service and Social Security number.  HORNE cannot confirm whether the unauthorized individual accessed or acquired the attachment, but because it cannot confirm this fact, HORNE is providing notice to the potentially affected patients.

What We Are Doing.  The confidentiality, privacy, and security of its clients’ patient information is one of HORNE’s highest priorities.  HORNE has stringent security measures in place to protect the security of information in its possession.  In addition, as part of its ongoing commitment to the security of protected health information in its care, HORNE is working to implement additional safeguards and security measures to enhance the privacy and security of information on its systems.  Forrest General Hospital will report this incident to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Securing personal health information is important to HORNE.  As a precautionary measure to help better protect the credit file of those who may be affected from potential misuse, HORNE has contracted with Experian to offer one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft resolution services to those that are affected, and is mailing letters containing information about this incident and enrollment instructions to affected patients beginning on February 1, 2018. Patients of Forrest General Hospital can find out if they are affected and how to enroll with Experian by calling the dedicated assistance line at the number below.

What You Can Do.  You can enroll to receive the free credit monitoring and identity restoration services.  You can also review your account statements, explanation of benefits forms and credit reports for suspicious activity.  Report such activity to your bank or health insurance company.

For More Information.  HORNE understands that patients may have questions about this incident that are not addressed in this notice. If you have additional questions, please call the dedicated assistance line at 855-367-5405 (toll free), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. C.S.T.

HORNE sincerely regrets any inconvenience this incident has caused.


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