CoPilot Provider Support Services, a New York-based corporation that provides support services to the healthcare industry, has agreed to pay $130,000 in penalties as part of a settlement to resolve a 2015 data breach that that exposed 221,178 patient records.
According to a notice from New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, CoPilot’s website—www.monovischcp.com—is used by physicians to help determine whether insurance coverage is available for certain medications. On Oct. 26, 2015, an unauthorized individual gained access to confidential patient reimbursement data of CoPilot via the website administration interface. The intruder downloaded reimbursement-related records for 221,178 patients—including their name, gender, date of birth, address, phone number, and medical insurance card information. Of the patients affected, 25,561 were residents of New York; 11,372 of the New York patients’ records also included social security numbers, according to the notice from the AG’s office.
An FBI investigation that followed focused on a former CoPilot employee whom CoPilot believed was the intruder. Then, in January 2017, CoPilot began to provide formal notice to affected consumers in New York. The notifications were issued more than one year after CoPilot learned of the breach of patient data. While the organization said the delay was due to the ongoing investigation, the FBI never determined that consumer notification would compromise the investigation, and never instructed CoPilot to delay victim notifications, according to the New York Attorney General. “General Business Law § 899-aa requires companies to provide notice of a breach as soon as possible, and a company cannot presume delayed notification is warranted just because a law enforcement agency is investigating,” the AG said.
As such, CoPilot has agreed to pay $130,000 in penalties and has also agreed to improve its notification and legal compliance program. The agreement also states that CoPilot should not delay providing notification of a breach to consumers, unless explicitly directed in writing by an authorized law enforcement official investigating the incident for criminal prosecution, in which that consumer notice of the incident would impede the investigation.
“Healthcare services providers have a duty to protect patient records as securely as possible and to provide notice when a breach occurs,” said AG Schneiderman. “Waiting over a year to provide notice is unacceptable. My office will continue to hold businesses accountable to their responsibility to protect customers’ private information.”
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