New Mexico hospital alerts 14,000 patients of data breach

Artesia (N.M.) General Hospital has notified 13,905 patients of a recent security incident that may have exposed patient information.

Artesia General Hospital discovered that between June 11-18 an unauthorized third party had gained access to an employee's email account. The hacker began sending unauthorized emails from the employee's account.

The hospital is unaware if the hacker viewed or downloaded any patient information that was stored in the email account. Artesia General Hospital said there has been no evidence that patient data has been misused.

Patient data that may have been exposed included names, dates of birth, medical record or account numbers, health insurance information and limited treatment and/or clinical information. In some instances, patients' Social Security numbers were also stored in the compromised email account.

"To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, we have reinforced education with our staff regarding how to identify and avoid suspicious emails and are making additional security enhancement," the hospital said in a statement.

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