MA: Information of 13,000 Baystate patients possibly compromised due to “phishing”
Anthony Fay reports:
About 13,000 patients of Baystate Health may have had some of their personal information compromised, due to a “phishing” e-mail that was received by some staff members. According to a Baystate Health news release sent to 22News, the information may have included names and dates of birth, in addition to medical information, such as diagnoses and the type of treatment the patient received, and even perhaps health insurance identification numbers. Social Security numbers and billing information were definitely not compromised, Baystate says.
Baystate Health learned about the phishing e-mail on August 22.
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The following statement was posted on Baystate Health’s site:
Baystate Health (“Baystate”) is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients’ information. This notice concerns an incident involving some of that information.
On August 22, 2016, Baystate learned that a “phishing” email had been sent to several Baystate employees allowing hackers to access some employees’ email accounts. The hacker designed the phishing email to look like an internal Baystate memo to employees. We immediately took steps to secure the email accounts and began an investigation. We have reported the incident to law enforcement.
The investigation determined that 5 Baystate employees had responded to the phishing email. This allowed the hackers to gain access to the employees’ email accounts. Some of the emails in those accounts included patient information. While we have no evidence that any patient information has been taken or misused, we want to assure our patients that we take this incident very seriously. The information in the emails may have included patients’ names and dates of birth, diagnosis, treatment received, medical record number and, in some instances, health insurance identification number. The emails did not contain Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other financial information. No patient medical records were accessed. Baystate’s electronic medical records systems were not affected.
Baystate is committed to protecting private information and is taking this matter very seriously. To help prevent a similar event from happening again, we are increasing our employee training about phishing emails.
We mailed letters to people who may have been affected on Friday, October 21, 2016. If you believe you may be affected and have not received a letter by November 5, 2016, or if you have any questions about this incident, please call 844-723-9338, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. eastern time.