Northwestern asks patients to review medical bills after security breach

Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine is asking patients to review their medical bills for accuracy after a data breach on a cancer software potentially exposed their information, according to a July 7 report from CBS Local.

The breach potentially exposed the information of 201,197 Northwestern patients across nine hospitals. The software vendor, Elekta, discovered the cyberattack April 6. Northwestern found out about the attack May 17. 

Anthony Stroccio, one of the patients affected in the breach, told CBS Local that he received an ominous letter the week of July 5 from Northwestern, advising him to check his credit report and review billing statements for treatments he may not have received.

"We are encouraging our oncology patients to review statements from their health insurer or healthcare provider, and to contact them immediately if they see any services they did not receive. We have established a dedicated call center to answer questions about this incident," Northwestern told CBS Local. 

Northwestern said that no Social Security numbers or financial information was compromised in the breach.

"We regret this incident occurred and we are committed to protecting the security and privacy of patient information. This incident did not involve access to any of the Northwestern Memorial Healthcare systems, network, or electronic health records. This incident occurred on Elekta's systems. Based on the nature of the incident and its investigation, Elekta has no reason to believe that any of the data involved was or will be misused or will be made available publicly," Northwestern's statement reads. 

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