Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hacking Operation Removes Patient Data

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hacking Operation Removes Patient Data

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma patients of Community Health Systems physician practices were among the 4.5 million people whose personal information was recently stolen, the company reported. The stolen data included patient names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers.

Community Health Systems Inc. on Monday reported in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that a Chinese hacking group stole private data from about 4.5 million patients nationwide. The company owns 10 hospitals in Oklahoma, as well as a group of outpatient medical clinics.

The cyberattacks occurred in April and June, when a China-based group used malware to copy and transfer private information from CHS systems, according to the SEC filing. Though medical information was not obtained, the hacking group stole patient names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers.

Though Oklahoma City-based Deaconess Hospital patients were not affected by the security breach, its 19 outpatient clinics were, spokeswoman Emily Kezbers said. She said Deaconess Physician Services, which operates the clinics, was not releasing the number of patients who were affected. Community Health is mailing letters to those who have been affected, and will likely finish mailing the letters by Aug. 30, she said.

Similarly, patients at Ponca City Medical Center weren't affected, but those at affiliated clinics were, spokesman Eric Lybarger wrote in prepared response emailed to media outlets. Personal information of patients seen by a physician at a Kay County Clinic in the past five years was also stolen, Lybarger wrote.

As of Wednesday, patients at five Integris-affiliated hospitals in rural areas were not affected by the hacking incident, Integris spokeswoman Brooke Cayot said. Community Health is still investigating the extent of the incident, and will alert the Integris hospitals if a breach is found, she said.

"We have a variety of security safeguards in place," Cayot said. "But obviously when something like this happens, you revisit them to ensure you have the most up-to-date security procedures possible."

Patients at Durant-based Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma weren't affected by the security breach, said spokeswoman Teresa Townsend. …

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