On December 22, ProSmile Holdings, LLC in New Jersey issued a press release about a data breach. If ProSmile — a dental service organization — is a business associate or otherwise covered under HIPAA, no report from them has shown up yet on HHS’s public breach tool. They write, in part:
In July 7, 2022, ProSmile became aware of a possible data security incident involving its email tenant. Following discovery, we engaged an independent cybersecurity firm to investigate the scope of potential access to the ProSmile email tenant, and whether sensitive information may have been affected. The investigation subsequently revealed that certain personal and protected health information may have been accessed or acquired without authorization. We then initiated a comprehensive review of the potentially impacted data to determine the types of personal and protected health information involved and identify the potentially impacted individuals. Following completion of the review of data, we then worked diligently to gather current contact information needed to notify all potentially affected individuals. This process was completed on November 29, 2023.
When you consider that the types of information included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s license or other state identification card numbers, financial account numbers, payment card numbers, medical treatment information, diagnosis or clinical information, provider information, prescription information, and health insurance information, the gap between discovery in July 2022 and notification at the end of December 2023 merits investigation by, and possible enforcement action by, HHS OCR.
Some investigation by DataBreaches revealed that there had been an earlier notification on March 28, 2023:
TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY: March 28, 2023 – ProSmile Holdings, LLC (“ProSmile”) is a dental service organization which experienced a data security incident that may have impacted personal and protected health information belonging to certain individuals who received dental services from various dental practices that ProSmile supports. ProSmile takes the protection of personal and protected health information very seriously.
On July 7, 2022, ProSmile learned of a potential data security incident involving its email environment. In response, ProSmile promptly engaged an independent digital forensics and incident response firm to investigate. On December 1, 2022, ProSmile received confirmation that numerous email accounts within its email environment had been accessed without authorization and began working to identify the personal / protected health information contained therein that may have been impacted. On January 27, 2023, a vendor engaged to assist with this process advised that the incident likely resulted in unauthorized access to personal / protected health information. At this time, ProSmile is diligently working with this vendor to identify all potentially impacted individuals for purposes providing notification thereto. Notably, to date, ProSmile has no evidence to suggest that any potentially impacted information has been misused as a result of this incident.
At this time, ProSmile is unable to confirm how many individuals may have been impacted by this incident and what data sets, for each, may have been involved. However, ProSmile, as soon as reasonably practicable, will mail notification letters to potentially impacted individuals describing the incident and providing information about steps that can be taken to help protect sensitive information.
The privacy and protection of personal and protected health information is a top priority for ProSmile, which deeply regrets any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause.
While ProSmile has no evidence of the misuse of any potentially affected individual’s information as a result of this incident, ProSmile is providing the following information about steps that individuals can take to help protect their information:
ProSmile’s site indicates it has 80+ locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.
DataBreaches contacted ProSmile with questions that included asking whether the incident involved any encryption or extortion attempt, why it took from July 2022 until the end of January 2023 to determine that affected accounts contained protected health information, and why it took a year and a half to notify those affected. DataBreaches received no reply.
There is also nothing in ProSmile’s notification that states what ProSmile has done since July 2022 to prevent a recurrence of an attack that affected multiple email accounts.