The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced that it has begun notifying patients of a data breach at Sutherland Healthcare Solutions (SHS), which handles DHS’s billing and collections.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the breach may affect as many as 168,500 patients.
On February 5, SHS’ Torrance office in Southern California was broken into and computers were stolen. As a result of DHS’ analysis, on February 25, it was confirmed to Los Angeles County that its patients’ personal information was identified as being on the stolen computer equipment. According to DHS, the computers contained personal information including patients’ first and last names, Social Security numbers, and billing information. In addition, the stolen computers may have included your date of birth, address, diagnoses and other medical information.
On its website, DHS released a statement saying, “We are taking this incident very seriously and are taking the necessary precautions to protect all patient related information from theft or criminal activity. We and Los Angeles County are actively working with law enforcement. Los Angeles County will be notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. In addition, we are reviewing our policies and procedures and have provided additional training to our workforce. Los Angeles County is also working with us to review our information privacy and security program and determine whether enhancements should be made.”