Health Quest still first notifying people of July, 2018 breach in January, 2020

Having to go through numerous email accounts to determine which consumers, employees, or patients, have information in them that will necessitate notification can be a time-consuming task.

In June, 2019, this site reported on what appeared to be a very long gap between discovery of a breach and notification to those affected. As reported then, Health Quest had discovered a phishing incident in July, 2018, but it took them until June, 2019 to notify those affected.

Today, discovered that in January, 2020, Health Quest first made notification to others who were impacted by the same breach.  A copy of their notification, submitted to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office reads, in part:

On October 25, 2019, through our investigation of a phishing email incident, HQ determined that some of your information may have been contained in employee email accounts accessed by an unauthorized party. HQ first learned of a potential incident in July 2018, when numerous HQ employees were deceived by a phishing scheme, which resulted in certain HQ employees being tricked into inadvertently disclosing their email account credentials to an unauthorized party. Upon learning of the incident, the employee email accounts in question were secured and a leading cyber security firm was engaged to assist us to investigate this matter.

As part of the investigation, HQ performed a comprehensive review of the voluminous contents of the email accounts in question to determine if they contained any sensitive information. Through this time-consuming review, which was completed on November 8, 2019, HQ determined that the information contained in the accounts may have included your name, Social Security number, driver’s license issuing state and number, passport number, financial account information, health insurance information, and clinical information related to care you received at HQ or one of our affiliates.

From July, 2018 discovery until January, 2020 notification? What, if anything, will OCR do?  On May 31, 2019, Health Quest Systems reported the incident to HHS as impacting 28,910 patients. Afterwards, they discovered that additional notifications were required, as they explained in their website notice.  It is not known whether they have sent updated numbers to HHS for the public website, but according to HHS’s website, the May, 2019 report is still an open case.

The headline was corrected post-publication to correct a typo in the entity’s name.

About the author: Dissent

Comments are closed.