In August, I noted a ransomware attack on Marin Medical Practices Concepts (MMPC), a business associate providing billing and EMR services to many physicians. The ransomware prevented the physicians from accessing patient records for more than 10 days, and Marin decided to pay an undisclosed amount of ransom. In an August 4 statement, however, they noted, “To date, there is no evidence that any patient information was accessed, transferred or otherwise compromised.”
That appears to still be true – at least as far as the direct effect of the ransomware – but MMPC and Prima Medical Foundation are notifying 5,000 patients whose records were lost during the recovery process.
The Marin Independent Journal reports that both entities have now issued press statements explaining that at the time of July 26 attack, they were in the middle of a system upgrade. The data loss was due to faulty backup, not the malware, as paying the ransom did unlock the files, they report. The patients being notified are patients of physician practices that are part of the Marin Healthcare District Medical Care Centers and Prima Medical Foundation.
Read more on Marin Independent Journal.
The full text of the Prima Medical Foundations’s statement:
Notice of Privacy Incident
MMPC Resolves Ransomware Infection
Investigation shows patient personal, financial, and health information not accessed, viewed, or transferred
September 28, 2016, Novato, CA—On July 26, 2016, Prima Medical Foundation, the Foundation that supports the Prima Medical Group, a local, physician owned and operated group of physicians dedicated to providing high-quality care throughout Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties, received notice that Marin Medical Practices Concepts, Inc., (MMPC), the company that provides Prima with business and health care system services, experienced a ransomware infection.
The third-party forensic firm hired to investigate this incident found no evidence that patient personal, financial, or health information was accessed, viewed, or transferred. However, during the restoration process, one of MMPC’s backup systems failed, causing information to be lost that was documented by Prima physicians between July 11, 2016 and July 26, 2016. This information includes vital signs, limited clinical history, documentation of physical examinations, and any record of the communication between patients and their physician during a visit in that 15 day period. Results of diagnostic tests were not lost and patients do not need to be re-tested.
Prima takes the privacy and confidentiality of patients’ information very seriously, and has been working closely with MMPC to implement steps to ensure all databases are protected with today’s most advanced technology to reinforce its security systems against the most aggressive threats.
“It is unfortunate that these types of cyber-attacks have become so common. Prima deeply regrets any inconvenience caused by this incident and we want to assure our community that we have worked alongside MMPC to ensure best practices are in place and that our data is secure,” said Robert Newbury, MD, CEO Prima Medical Foundation.
Prima is mailing letters to potentially affected individuals today and has established a dedicated call center to address questions or concerns. Those who believe they may be affected by this incident but who have not received a letter by October 5, 2016, are encouraged to call 1-844-607-1698, Monday through Friday, between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.
About Prima Medical Group
Contact: Jamie Maites, Director of Communications Office: 415- 925-7424