Breach, Threat Management, Data Security

Texas Health Resources’ patient information exposed in October 2017 email compromise

Texas Health Resources, a nonprofit health care delivery system in North Central Texas, has disclosed that an unauthorized party may have gained access to patient information back in October 2017 by compromising some of the organization's email accounts.

Through its Texas Health Physicians Group, the regional health care provider released an online notification, stating the breach primarily impacted patients who received care and treatment in 2017. According to the organization, the event was part of a "larger incident affecting multiple entities across the country and did not just affect Texas Health entities and patients."

The patient information that may have been retrieved from the affected email accounts includes names, medical record numbers, birth dates, addresses, insurance information, clinical information, and in some cases Social Security numbers and driver's license and state identification numbers.

Texas Health Resources said it only became aware of the incident through on Jan. 17, 2018, after being contacted by law enforcement officials, who asked the organization to refrain from informing patients until a later time, "so as not to impede the law enforcement investigation."

"We respected law enforcement's request and began our own internal investigation, including hiring a leading forensic firm to assist us," the notification says, noting the organization began mailing letters to patients on Apr. 13. 

Texas Health Resources has also established a dedicated call center to answer pertinent questions and will offer one year of free credit monitoring to patients whose Social Security numbers were exposed. So far, there is no evidence any potentially stolen information has been misused, the organization says.

Serving 16 counties, Texas Health Resources operates 29 hospital locations, with more than 3,900 licensed beds, combined.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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