GA: Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic reports breach to HHS

It appears that Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic in Georgia  reported a breach to HHS on January 3 that impacted 53,686 patients. They reported the breach as “hacking — other.”

There is nothing on their website at this time to explain the incident and so far, I have found no press release. The only additional information at this time seems to be that the CE checked “yes” for “business associate present.”

Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic has been mentioned on this site in the past as a result of an attack by thedarkoverlord on one of their business associates in 2016. At the time, Peachtree initially claimed this site’s reporting was inaccurate, but subsequent events confirmed this site’s reporting.  In closing its investigation into that incident HHS reported:

Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic, the covered entity, discovered that there had been an unauthorized intrusion into its computer system. It determined that the intruder may have been able to access the protected health information (PHI) of approximately 531,000 patients. The PHI included names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and some clinical information. The covered entity retained a third party IT security firm to perform a forensic evaluation. It ended its relationship with the business associate that it concluded was the source of the compromise to its database. The covered entity also implemented several additional technical safeguards, including: a new intrusion detection system, improved its firewall, reset all of its user passwords, upgraded its anti-virus software, including additional monitoring of user activity, and implemented multi-factor authentication for remote users. As a result of OCR’s investigation, Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic also completed a new risk analysis. It provided breach notification to HHS, the affected individuals, the media, and on its website. OCR obtained assurances that the covered entity implemented the corrective actions outlined above.

So what happened now? Is there another third-party breach that has caused problems for Peachtree? will look for updates on this one.

Update1 January 22: HHS has already moved their report from the “under investigation” list to the “archived” list. There is no closing explanation posted yet.

Update2 Feb 1: HHS added a closing note to this incident:

Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic, the covered entity, reported that its business associate (BA), experienced a ransomware attack that affected the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of 53,686 individuals. The ePHI involved included names, dates of service, and other treatment information. This breach has been consolidated into an existing compliance review of the BA.

So the short answer is yes, this was another business associate breach, and this time, it appears that it is the unnamed business associate that is undergoing a compliance review. Did the corrective actions taken after the first breach make any difference? There is still no notice on the clinic’s website that this blogger could find that might provide greater clarity.

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