August 18, 2014 at 1:37 PM
If you’ve been to a few area hospitals over the last five years, your personal information may now be in the hands of hackers.
Community Health Systems, which manages 206 hospitals in the country, including a few local ones, had its records breached, according to an announcement on Monday. Hackers accessed 4.5 million patients’ personal information, including social security numbers, physical addresses, names, birth dates and telephone numbers.
“Anyone who received treatment from a network-owned hospital in the last five years, or was merely referred by an outside doctor, is affected,” according to the CHS release.
The breach is reported to put such patients at a high risk of identity theft, as hackers could use the information to open accounts, credit cards or loans in the victim’s name.
Approximately 20 Pennsylvania-based hospitals were included, with local breaches at:
· Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia
· Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville
· Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in Pottstown
Fox43.com is reporting that the breach was pin-pointed to China, having occurred sometime between April and June of 2014.
“The hospital network said that, it managed to wipe the hackers’ malware from its computer systems and implemented protections to prevent similar break-ins,” said the Fox43.com report. “The network plans to offer identity theft protection to the 4.5 million victims of the data breach.”
Phoenixville Hospital’s Laurie Cunningham, director of marketing and public relations, could not be reached for comment.
NBC5, based in Chicago, said the breach did not include any medical information.
“The company has confirmed that this data did not include patient, credit card, medical, or clinical information,” Community Health said in a statement filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “It includes patient names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers, and social security numbers.”
NBC5 also added that the company is in the process of notifying such patients and “will offer identity theft protection to anyone affected by the attack.”