Several of Madison County BOC chairman Anthony Dove’s family members recently received a letter from Athens Orthopedic Clinic informing them of a “data breach” of patient electronic medical records at their practice. It seems those letters were just the tip of a very big iceberg that is potentially affecting the protected health information of people all over the area – including many in Madison County.
The breach, according to the form letter reportedly sent out to more than 200,000 current and former patients, informed recipients that “we regret to inform you that our practice has discovered an apparent breach of your personal health information. This breach occurred on June 14, 2016 and we became aware on June 27 that a potential breach had occurred that was confirmed several days later.”
The letter goes on to say that the breach occurred by way of a “cyber-attack” when the login credentials of an outside vendor were used to access their electronic record system. The Clinic also stated that this vendor had been terminated.
Most of these letters were not received until last week — more than a month after the breach was discovered.
Chairman Dove said he is particularly worried since reading in various other news sources that the information may have been sold to an “underground organization calling itself the ‘Dark Overlords,’ that has already advertised the stolen records for sale on the the black market. He said his family members followed the letters instructions to contact one of the three credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on their credit reports.
The Clinic also said in the letter that they had retained the services of cyber security experts to “make recommendations for additional improvements to our system, and have begun implementing these recommendations.”
They will not, however offer free credit monitoring for their clients stating financial constraints, but instead provided clients with phone numbers and contacts for the Equifax, Experian and Transunion, the three major credit reporting bureaus.
Elaine Brown, of Danielsville, also got a letter.
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