CHEYENNE, Wyo., March 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Cheyenne Regional Medical Center officials announced today that an unknown third party gained unauthorized access to a small number of employee email accounts that could have resulted in personal patient information being viewed this year between March 27 and April 8. Following the discovery of suspicious activity related to certain email accounts around April 12, 2019, CRMC quickly expanded its investigation to determine the full nature and scope of the activity. On August 21, 2019, CRMC determined that unauthorized access to employee email accounts may have resulted in certain personal information being accessible.
To date there is no evidence of any actual or attempted misuse of personal information related to the unauthorized access.
When the incident was discovered, CRMC began working with a leading forensic investigation firm to determine exactly which email accounts had been accessed and the information that those emails contained.
On August 21, the investigation determined that the unauthorized access may have resulted in personal patient information being viewed.
A further review of the impacted email accounts was then launched to identify whose personal information was present. That review was concluded in late November. CRMC is in the process of sending those individuals notification letters.
"Information privacy and security are among our highest priorities," CRMC's Compliance and Privacy Officer, Jacqueline Van Cleave said. "CRMC has strict security measures in place to protect patient information. Because we care about our patients and our community, we are taking an abundance of caution and notifying patients their information potentially could have been viewed. We have since taken additional steps to further strengthen the security of our systems, including our email accounts. We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern this incident has caused and are committed to working with any individuals who may have questions or concerns."
According to Van Cleave, CRMC policies and procedures require that patient information be stored securely in the hospital's electronic health records system. However, certain information can also be exchanged by email among staff and providers for necessary consultations and administrative purposes. All such email exchanges are made securely in accordance with CRMC procedures.
Van Cleave also clarified that this unauthorized access was not a ransomware attack.
CRMC's investigation confirmed the information present within the impacted email accounts at the time of the incident included one or more of the following types of information for certain CRMC patients: name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver's license number, dates of service, provider name, medical record number, patient identification number, medical information, diagnosis, treatment information, health insurance information, and for a very small number of individuals, credit card information and/or financial account information.
While CRMC and the investigative firm cannot confirm if any individual's personal information was actually viewed during the incident, the hospital has set up a dedicated toll-free line at 1-844-931-1882 to answer questions. The toll-free line will be available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time).
CRMC has secured the services of Kroll, a cyber security and risk management firm, to offer identity and credit monitoring services at no cost to affected individuals. Information on how to enroll in these services is provided in the letter of notification.
CRMC encourages individuals to review their account statements and Explanation of Benefits statements regularly, and to monitor their credit reports for suspicious activity. Under U.S. law individuals are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. To order a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. People may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of their credit report.
Below are details about how to place a security freeze or fraud alert on a credit report or credit file.
You have the right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a security freeze on your credit report. Should you wish to place a security freeze, please contact the major consumer reporting agencies listed below:
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
In order to request a security freeze, you will need to provide the following information:
As an alternative to a security freeze, you have the right to place an initial or extended "fraud alert" on your file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer's credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer's credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer's identity before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the agencies listed below:
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
You can further educate yourself regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes, and the steps you can take to protect yourself, by contacting the consumer reporting agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, or your state Attorney General.
The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580, www.identitytheft.gov, 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. You can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. You have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some proof that you have been a victim. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement and your state Attorney General.
Additional information regarding this incident has been posted on CRMC's website at cheyenneregional.org.
SOURCE Cheyenne Regional Medical Center