St. Vincent Medical Group in Indiana, a member of Ascension Health, has provided a substitute notice following an e-mail phishing incident.
According to their notice, a copy of which is posted on their web site, on December 3, 2014, they learned that an employee’s user name and password had been compromised as a result of e-mail phishing. St.Vincent Medical Group immediately shut down the user name and password of the impacted account and launched an investigation into the matter.
Following a manual and electronic investigation of the affected e-mail account, on March 12, 2015, they determined that the account’s e-mails contained some protected health information for approximately 760 patients.
The information in the e-mail account included the patient’s name, demographic information such as date of birth and phone number, account numbers, limited clinical information related to services the patient had received and, in some cases, social security numbers. The hackers did not gain access to individual medical records or billing records, St. Vincent said.
Identity monitoring and protection services are being offered free of charge to those whose social security number has been affected by the incident, staff are being provided additional training on avoiding phishing, and St. Vincent Medical Group is working with its e-mail service provider to consider additional measure to harden security.
In its statement, the medical group writes:
St.Vincent Medical Group sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience this unfortunate incident may cause and assures all of its patients that the faith-based organization is taking appropriate measures to avoid an incident of this nature happening in the future.
I have no idea why they felt the need to include “faith-based” as a description. Are they subtly asking their patients to have faith in them? Or is this, “Don’t be too angry at us, please, because RELIGION?”
This is not St. Vincent’s first reported breach. Previously disclosed incidents, reported on PHIprivacy.net, include a mailing error affecting 63,000 Breast Center patients, a laptop reported stolen from St. Vincent Hospital that contained PHI on 1,100 patients, and a previous breach of associate e-mail accounts that held PHI of 1,800 St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital patients,
Obviously, being faith-based does not protect from data security breaches, no matter how much faith you have.