Laptop stolen from U.S. Healthwork was encrypted, but alas, the password was with it

U.S. Healthwork has notified HHS and 1400 patients after a laptop with protected health information was stolen from an employee. Although the laptop was encrypted, the password was stolen with the laptop.

Notice to our Patients Regarding a Privacy Incident

U.S. HealthWorks understands the importance of protecting the security of personal information of our patients. Regrettably, this notice concerns an incident that may involve some of your information.

On July 18, 2016, a laptop was stolen from a U.S. HealthWorks employee. Although the laptop was encrypted, the password for the device was stolen along with the laptop. As a result, the thief may have been able to access information stored on the laptop. Our investigation has determined that the emails contained information for a limited number of individuals, including full name and possibly some limited medical information, including diagnosis and visit date, and limited health insurance information. For some individuals, Social Security numbers were contained in the emails. The emails did not contain other financial or account information.

This incident did not affect all U.S. HealthWorks patients. To date, we have no reason to believe that any U.S. HealthWorks patient information has been accessed or used improperly. However, in an abundance of caution, U.S. HealthWorks began sending letters to potentially affected patients on September 2, 2016 and has established a dedicated call center to assist patients with any questions. To help prevent something like this from happening again, we are enhancing our existing procedures related to the security of laptops and user passwords, as well as providing additional information security training for all U.S. HealthWorks employees.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern about this incident. We began mailing letters to affected individuals on September 2, 2016, and have established a dedicated call center to answer any questions they may have. If you believe you may be affected and have not received a letter by September 17, 2016, please call 1-877-237-1071, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time (closed on U.S. observed holidays). Please be prepared to provide the following ten digit reference number when calling: 8118081816.

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