The Coeur Group notifies patients of data breach

DataBreaches has not seen anything on HHS’s public breach tool, but the Coeur Group in Omaha, Nebraska, published a legal notice about a cybersecurity incident involving patient information. According to their statement, an employee’s email account in Coeur Group’s business email system was compromised between June 7 and July 12, 2022. The breach was discovered on July 26.

Only patients with information in emails or attachments in that account were potentially affected. The data for any patient might include:

Full name, demographic information (such as address and date of birth), insurance information, and clinical information (such as provider name, and limited treatment information such as diagnosis/condition and medications). For some individuals, the information also included Social Security Number and credit card information.

In response to the incident, Coeur Group took several steps, including:

reviewing access controls, implementing new authentication requirements, updating security procedures, strengthening network procedures, implementing multi-factor authentication, enhanced firewall protections, and implementing additional alerts for potential cyber threats.

Patients affected by the incident were offered one-year enrollment in an online credit monitoring service. Patients who did not receive letters or have questions can call a third-party call center at 1-855-759-3552, Monday through Friday, from 8 am – 8 pm Central Standard Time.

Coeur Group specializes in mental health issues, substance abuse disorders, and other compulsive disorders.  While those of us who report on breaches in the healthcare sector may get a bit of notice fatigue from reading so many notices, it is helpful to remember that for some situations and incidents, being exposed as a patient of a particular practice may result in some risk of stigmatization or social consequences.  The misuse of stolen information for fraud or identity theft isn’t always the most significant concern patients may have. Will any Coeur Group patients feel distressed or worry that their information was accessed or acquired by criminals who might try to extort them?

The notice does not disclose how many patients were being notified of the incident  and there is no notice on Coeur Group’s website.

Updated October 1: This incident was reported on September 23 to HHS by Cynthia Paul, M.D. as affecting 2,020 patients but was not posted on HHS’s site until after this post appeared. 

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