OH: Memorial Health System notifies 216,478 patients of malware incident last July

In November, Marietta Area Health Care Inc. dba Memorial Health System notified HHS of a breach. The number affected was submitted as 501 — a number that this site often interprets as just a marker to show that the entity knows there was more than 500 patients to notify, but hasn’t yet figured out exactly how many.

This week, the Ohio system reported the breach to the Maine Attorney General’s Office as impacting 216,478 patients whose information was either accessed or acquired.

If one merely reads the summary form submitted to Maine, it would appear that the breach occurred beginning July 10, and wasn’t discovered until December 9. That’s not quite accurate though. December 9 was the day they finished identifying who needed to be notify, what types of information were involved for each individual, and contact information. I do not think that is how HHS defines “discovery,” but HHS has been really — dare we say, pathetic — when it comes to enforcing timely notification.

Since last July, then, criminals may be in possession of more than 216,000 patients’ and/or employees’  name, address, Social Security number, medical/treatment information, and health insurance information.

But while this site and blogger are normally quite critical of entities massaging the date of discovery, in this case, we do note that MHS went public immediately about the ransomware attack and its impact on the functioning of the health system. At that time, however, they did not find or report any compromise of patient or employee information. Whether they issued any update on that before now is unknown to this site, but given that they are claiming date of discovery was December 9, they probably did not.

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