Patient data stolen in Chinese cyber attack on Lake Granbury Medical Center, Lakeside Physicians owner

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

Letter from Lakeside Physicians informs a patient about the cyberattack. Photo by Kathryn Jones

A letter from Lakeside Physicians informs a patient of the attack on its computer network.  Photo by Kathryn Jones

The company that owns Lake Granbury Medical Center and Lakeside Physicians clinic in Glen Rose last week informed patients that their personal data – including names, Social Security numbers and addresses – had been compromised in a Chinese cyber attack on its computer systems.

In a letter obtained by the Glen Rose Current, Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp., a for-profit hospital corporation based in Tennessee, told patients that had received services or other providers at Lakeside Physicians and its other facilities, that sometime from April to June its computer network was targeted by a group from China.

An estimated 4.5 million patients could have had personal data stolen. Community Health Systems operates 206 hospitals, including 18 in Texas.

Community Health System said it confirmed the hack in July. The company said the Chinese group was able to bypass the company’s security measures and “successfully copy and transfer some data” on its systems.

“You are receiving this letter because some of your personal information may have been taken during this cyber attack,” Community Health Systems said in the letter dated Aug. 29. “The data which was taken may include your name, address, birthdate and Social Security number. Some of the data may also have included your phone number, and the name of employers or garantors.”

The company added that, to the best of its knowledge, “NO credit card information was taken and NO medical or clinical information was taken.”

Federal authorities and outside forensic experts at Mandiant, a computer security company, told the company that the cyber attacker “typically looked for information related to intellectual property,” the letter also said.

However, to protect patients and because the company said it did not know for sure whether the cyber attackers took information for identity theft purposes, Community Health Services said it would offer patients the ability to sign up for identity theft protection free for one year.

If you have received services from Lake Granbury or Lakeside Physicians clinic in Glen Rose or Granbury and fear your personal data may have been compromised, you may sign up for identity theft protection at kroll.idMonitoringService.com.

The service will monitor credit and alert you if someone applied for a new line of credit in your name, for example.

“If you do not recognize the activity, you’ll have the opportunity to call an investigator, who can help you determine if it’s an indicator of identify theft,” the letter explained.

Identify theft consultation and restoration also will be provided.

“Should you become a victim of identify theft, a dedicated licenses investigator can work on your behalf to resolve related issues,” the letter continued.

The investigator can “dig deep to uncover all aspects of theft, and then work with creditors, collection agencies, utilities, government entities, and more…to resolve it,” the company added.

Patients also can contact the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – and ask for a free copy of credit reports to review for any suspicious activity.

If you spot something unusual on a credit report, contact a local law enforcement authority to file a report, or the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

Community Health Systems said it had a team of employees available to answer questions at 1-855-205-6951.

“We are committed to the privacy of your personal information, and regret the stress and worry this situation may have caused you,” Lakeside Physicians said in a letter to its patients.

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