Illinois hospital warns 1,400 patients of data breach

Dixon, Ill.-based Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital began notifying 1,486 patients of a data breach that may have exposed their protected health information.

In October, the hospital determined that an unauthorized third-party had gained access to an employee's email account. The employee's email account stored a spreadsheet with patient information for those who visited between Nov. 1, 2018 and May 1, 2019.

Patient data that may have been exposed included names, dates of birth, phone numbers, health insurance carrier names, diagnoses and clinical information.

Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital officials said there is no evidence that patient information has been misused. Since the incident, the hospital has taken steps to enhance its cybersecurity efforts.

"We sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience this incident may cause our patients. To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, we are implementing additional security measurers to protect our email system and conducting additional training on cybersecurity for all workforce members. Workforce members have received, and will continue to receive, reminders about safeguarding information stored electronically and how to avoid phishing scams," Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital said in a statement.

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