PA: Einstein Healthcare Network Notifies Patients August Email Hack
The following is a press release that appears totally silent as to why it took from August, 2020, when the breach was discovered, until January, 2021 to disclose this breach.
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Einstein Healthcare Network (“Einstein”) previously announced that it began mailing letters to patients whose information may have been involved in a data security incident involving unauthorized access to employees’ email accounts.
On August 10, 2020, Einstein identified suspicious activity within a limited number of its employees’ email accounts. Einstein immediately took steps to secure the email accounts by resetting email account passwords and an independent computer forensic firm was engaged to assist with the investigation. The investigation indicated that an unauthorized person gained access to the employee email accounts between August 5, 2020 and August 17, 2020. The investigation was unable to determine whether the unauthorized person actually viewed any emails or attachments in the accounts. Out of an abundance of caution, Einstein reviewed the contents of the email accounts to identify patient information that was contained in the email accounts. Through this review, Einstein identified emails and/or attachments in the accounts that contained patient information, which may have included some patients’ names, dates of birth, medical record or patient account numbers, and/or treatment or clinical information, such as diagnoses, medications, provider names, types of treatment, or treatment locations. In some instances, patients’ health insurance information, Social Security numbers, and/or drivers’ license numbers were also included in the accounts.
This incident did not affect all Einstein patients, but only those whose information was included in the affected email accounts.
Einstein has no indication that individuals’ information was actually viewed by the unauthorized person, or that it has been misused. However, as a precaution, Einstein mailed notification letters to those whose information was found in the affected accounts. Einstein also established a dedicated, toll-free call center to answer questions that individuals may have about the incident. Patients with questions can call 1-833-689-1142, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For patients whose Social Security numbers and/or drivers’ license numbers were identified in the email accounts, Einstein is offering complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection services. Einstein also recommends that affected patients review statements they receive from their health insurers or healthcare providers. If they see charges for services not received, they should contact the insurer or provider immediately.
To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, Einstein has reinforced education with its staff regarding how to identify and avoid suspicious emails and is making additional security enhancements to its email environment.
Additional information is posted on the Einstein website at einstein.edu/datasecurity.
SOURCE Einstein Healthcare Network