November 26, 2018
FHN Healthcare, which manages FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport, IL, and a network of family healthcare complexes all over northwest Illinois, has learned that a laptop computer having the protected health information of 4,458 patients has been stolen from the automobile of a worker.
The theft was instantly reported to law enforcement, but the appliance has not been recovered. FHN Healthcare recreated the data saved on the appliance and found it contained names, medical information, health insurance information, medical record numbers, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers.
FHN healthcare already encrypts all its laptop computers, even though the inquiry into the occurrence disclosed that the stolen appliance had not been encrypted and was only safeguarded with a password. FHN informs that the lack of encryption was because of a technical problem with its encryption software and that the missed appliance was an isolated occurrence.
The discovery of the encryption failure has encouraged FHN Healthcare to re-encrypt all its laptop computers. The worker who was issued with the laptop has been reeducated on protecting mobile appliances and the re-training has also been expanded to other workers.
All patients impacted by the breach were informed by post on November 2, 2018. Patients whose Social Security number or driver’s license number were revealed have been offered free identity theft protection facilities for 12 months.