Breach

Computer theft impacts 400K S. Carolina patients

July 19, 2011

In one of the largest health care data breaches this year, a computer containing hundreds of thousands of patient records was stolen from South Carolina's Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

How many victims? 400,000.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers, names, addresses, dates of birth and medical billing codes.

What happened? A desktop computer containing the sensitive data was stolen from an employee's car on March 28. The employee was authorized to have the computer.

Details: The health care system posted a notification about the breach on its website in late May, though it did not reveal how many patients were affected. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week revealed the number of impacted individuals.

There is no evidence that the information has been misused.

What was the response? Spartanburg reported the theft to authorities. An investigation was launched. The company also took unspecified steps to enhance its security procedures. Affected individuals have been notified and offered a free subscription for identity theft consultation and credit monitoring services.

Sources: SpartanburgRegional.com, Letter to Patients, May 2011.

HHS.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Breaches Affecting 500 or More Individuals.

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