June 13, 2015
North Shore-LIJ Warns About 18,000 Patients of Potential Data Breach
by CANDICE RUUD / [email protected]
The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is warning about 18,000 patients that their personal, health and insurance information is at risk due to a potential data breach.
Five laptops were stolen in September from the offices of Global Care Delivery, a Dallas-based firm that contracted with North Shore-LIJ and other providers to process and collect payments owed by insurers to hospitals, officials said Friday.
Four of the laptops may have files containing information on about 18,000 North Shore-LIJ patients -- including names, dates of birth, internal account numbers, diagnosis and procedure codes, and insurance identification numbers, according to the health system.
Among the data were Social Security numbers of about 2,000 of the patients, but no credit card numbers or other financial information was included, officials said.
The laptops were password-protected but not encrypted. North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam said there has been no evidence so far of any access to or misuse of patient information.
"We have not gotten any inquiries from any of our patients, which could potentially happen if they had any suspicious activity," Lynam said. "The information that we're getting from [Global Care Delivery] is that the thieves were targeting the laptops specifically, as opposed to data that was stored in them."
Lynam said Global Care Delivery staff discovered on Sept. 2, 2014, that the laptops were missing from their offices and notified police. The company alerted North Shore-LIJ on May 11, and after determining the extent of the data, the health system sent letters informing patients. The laptops have not been recovered, officials said.
Patients are encouraged to get a credit report from a major credit reporting agency and to monitor accounts for potential unauthorized activity.
Identity theft protection services are available to patients who were impacted, officials said. Patients seeking more information about the incident should contact the health system call center at 855-367-0138.