Breach, Threat Management, Data Security

Laptops stolen, data of 700k California hospital patients compromised

The theft of two laptops has led to a compromise of personal information, including Social Security numbers, for more than 700,000 patients of California-based AHMC hospitals.

How many victims? Roughly 729,000.

What type of personal information? Names, Social Security numbers, Medicare/insurance identification numbers, diagnosis/procedure codes, and insurance/patient payments.

What happened? Thieves broke into a sixth-floor administration office in Alhambra and stole two hospital laptops.

What was the response? The Alhambra police were notified and an investigation is ongoing. AHMC Healthcare  – which operates six hospitals – hired an auditing firm to perform a security risk assessment, and a policy of encrypting all laptops is being enforced. AHMC is notifying all affected patients, suggesting they put a fraud alert on their credit files or monitor credit reports for fraudulent activity.

Details: Hospital officials – who said the sixth-floor office is monitored by cameras and that the Alhambra medical campus is gated and patrolled by security – noticed the two laptops were missing on Oct. 14 and security video revealed the theft occurred on Oct. 12.

The laptops contain data on patients treated at Garfield Medical Center, Monterey Park Hospital, Greater El Monte Community Hospital, Whittier Hospital Medical Center, San Gabriel Valley Medical Center and Anaheim Regional Medical Center.

Quote: “At this time, AHMC Healthcare has no evidence that the information has been accessed or used in any manner,” AHMC spokesman Gary Hopkins said. “We regret any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause our patients.”

Source:, Los Angeles Times, “Laptop thefts compromise 700,000-plus hospital patient files,” Oct. 21, 2013.

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