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Vendor Error Left 18,000 CHI Franciscan Hospital Patients’ Information Accessible Online

September 12, 2016
by Heather Landi
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CHI Franciscan Health Highline Medical Center, based in Burien, Washington, is notifying patients of a potential data breach after a vendor partner inadvertently left files containing patient information accessible via the Internet.

According to a notice CHI Franciscan Health Highline Medical Center posted on its website, R-C Healthcare Management, a vendor working on behalf of Highline Medical Center, notified the hospital on July 22 that files containing patient information had been left accessible via the Internet by R-C Healthcare, from April 21 to June 13.

R-C Healthcare performed services for Highline Medical Center prior to CHI’s acquisition of Highline Medical Center in 2014.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights’ breach portal website, the potential data breach was reported September 1 as “unauthorized access/disclosure” on a network server and affected 18,399 individuals.

Highline Medical Center officials wrote in the notice, “Upon notification, we immediately began an investigation and determined that the files may have contained patient name, dates of service, health insurance information and Social Security number. R-C Healthcare assured us that it has secured files as of June 13, 2016. Please note that patient medical information was not included and patient care will not be affected. We have instructed R-C Healthcare to destroy the files.”

The hospital also said the incident did not affect all patients. “It only affected patients whose data was involved in account reporting functions from years 1993-1994 and 2008-2013,” the hospital stated.

And, hospital officials also stated, “We have no knowledge that the information has been accessed, viewed, acquired or otherwise compromised by any unauthorized third party. However, out of an abundance of caution, we mailed letters to affected patients on August 31, 2016.”

CHI Franciscan Health Highline Medical Center is offering free credit monitoring services to all affected patients and established a dedicated call center to answer patients’ questions about the incident.

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