Harrisburg Gastroenterology notifies patients of data security incident

Harrisburg Gastroenterology, Ltd. issued a press release yesterday that leaves a lot of questions unanswered:

Harrisburg Gastroenterology, Ltd. announced today that it is notifying individuals related to a privacy incident involving certain patient information.

On March 17, 2017, following an investigation of potentially suspicious system activity, Harrisburg Gastroenterology determined that an unauthorized individual could have potentially accessed patient information. While it does not have specific evidence that any unauthorized individual did in fact access or obtain any information from its systems, Harrisburg Gastroenterology is notifying its patients in an abundance of caution. The patient information contained in its systems included patient name, demographic information, Social Security number, health insurance information, diagnostic information and clinical information.

To help prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future, Harrisburg Gastroenterology is enhancing its existing security measures relating to protection of patient information.

Harrisburg Gastroenterology began mailing letters to affected individuals on April 28, 2017, and has established a dedicated call center to answer any questions.  For additional information about this incident, please visit the Harrisburg Gastroenterology website at https://www.hbggastro.com/

Harrisburg Gastroenterology, Ltd. has been dedicated to serving the medical needs of Central Pennsylvania for over 35 years. Over the years, we have expanded to serve the needs of our patients and continuously strive to create a professional and pleasant office. From our spacious and comfortable reception and waiting area to our private check out and scheduling areas, our facility was designed with our patients in mind.

For more information about Harrisburg Gastroenterology, please visit https://www.hbggastro.com/

SOURCE Harrisburg Gastroenterology, Ltd.

A copy of their notification letter to patients was also provided to the Montana Attorney General’s Office. That letter had a copy of the same notification letter from their associated entity, Harrisburg Endoscopy and Surgery Center, Inc.

But what happened? Was this a hack/ransomware incident or some other type of incident? I really wish entities would explain more clearly.

This incident is not on HHS’s breach tool at this time, so it’s not clear whether it’s being reported to them, and if so, how many patients are being notified.

Updated May 9:  Harrisburg Endoscopy reported that 9,092 patients were affected, while Harrisburg Gastroenterology reported that 93,323 were affected.

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