Patients notified following email security incident
MultiCare Health System, a not-for-profit integrated health care system based in Tacoma, is mailing letters to about 1,200 former and current patients related to a privacy incident.
On Nov. 27, 2016, MultiCare learned that an unauthorized individual may have gained access to one employee’s email account. When MultiCare learned of this, it immediately secured the email account, reset passwords and began an investigation of the incident. Our investigation has determined that the email account might have contained information related to the care some patients received, including their name, date of birth, address, gender, date of service, account balance, and diagnosis and treatment information. Importantly, financial information and Social Security numbers were not stored in the email account.
At this time, MultiCare has no evidence that any patient information has been accessed or misused. However, out of an abundance of caution, MultiCare is beginning to mail letters to the potentially affected individuals today. Any patients or families receiving individual notices from MultiCare are encouraged to review the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements they receive from their health insurer and report any circumstances where there are irregularities between the EOB and their known medical services. At this time we are not aware of any misuse of patient information arising from this incident.
Individuals who believe they are affected by this incident but who have not received a letter by Feb. 6, 2017, are encouraged to call (844) 856-9319 Monday through Friday, between 6 am and 6 pm Pacific Standard Time. MultiCare is committed to patient privacy and ensuring that information is secure. To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, MultiCare is re-enforcing the education and training employees receive on “phishing” emails, and will be conducting a comprehensive review of its security practices, procedures and safeguards.
MultiCare deeply regrets any inconvenience caused by this incident.
About The Author
More stories by this author