Billings Clinic suffers HIPAA email breach – again!

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On July 13, 2018, Billings Clinic submitted another HIPAA Email Breach to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Located in Billings, Montana, Billings’ email breach affected 8,435 individuals’ protected health information.

Billings Clinic is classified as a Healthcare Provider.

According to Billings Clinic’s statement given to Billings’ Gazette:

The hospital’s security systems identified unusual activity with an employee’s email account on May 14, according to a release from the organization. The account was hacked while the employee was traveling overseas.

The breach didn’t involve patients’ social security numbers, bank or credit card numbers or insurance information, according to the hospital. It also didn’t involve the hospital’s financial or medical files, according to the release.

The hospital has no indication that any information was misused, spokesman Zach Benoit said in an email.

After disabling the account, an investigation found that the hacker accessed the employee’s emails and attachments, according to a hospital press release. The “vast majority” of leaked information from those emails was “used for scheduling purposes between 2008 and 2011,” the release says.

The hacker could have had access to patients’ names, dates of birth, contact information, medical record numbers, internal financial control number, diagnosis and limited medical services descriptions, Benoit said.

Benoit added that no email contained all of that information, and the information leaked about each patient varied.

Dr. Randy Thompson, the hospital’s chief information officer, said in the release the organization takes the protection of patient data very seriously.

HHS Wall of Shame

The HHS Wall of Shame is a website under the jurisdiction of HHS that lists all HIPAA breaches reported within the last 24 months. The Wall of Shame displays breaches that are currently under investigation by the Office for Civil Rights.

As part of section 13402(e)(4) of the HITECH Act, the HHS Secretary must post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals.

HIPAA Breach Report

The Paubox HIPAA Breach Report analyzes breaches that affected 500 or more individuals as reported in the HHS Wall of Shame.

This is the second HIPAA Email Breach reported by Billings Clinic this year. Their previous HIPAA email breach occurred back in April 27, 2018.

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Arianna Etemadieh

Arianna is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Paubox. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and volunteering at the animal shelter.

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