Alleged incident at Experian Health exposes at least 700 Cook County Health and Hospitals System patients' information

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HHS is investigating the unauthorized access and disclosure of at least 700 Chicago-based Cook County Health and Hospitals System patients' information after a third-party company experienced "an isolated processing error" earlier this year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Experian Health notified CCHHS of the incident Aug. 1, according to an Oct. 2 statement issued by the health system. The statement claims the revenue cycle management vendor inadvertently sent out patient information to other healthcare facilities during a computer system upgrade in March 2017.

The HHS Office of Civil Rights said approximately 727 patients were affected in the incident.

The information allegedly included names, account numbers, medical record numbers and birthdays. Officials said addresses, Social Security numbers and clinical information were not exposed during the incident, the report states. There has been no indication any patient information was misused as a result of the incident, a CCHHS spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune via email.

A spokesperson for Experian Health told the publication Monday the incident was not a data breach, but "an isolated processing error." The exposed patient information was only sent to healthcare organizations that must also comply with federal law preventing them from disclosing personal patient data, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added Experian "took immediate action to correct the error" upon discovery of the incident.

CCHHS was one of at least two health systems affected by the incident. More than 600 patients at Carbondale-based Southern Illinois Healthcare were also reportedly affected.

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