Home > Employee Benefits > Significant data breach hits Partners HealthCare

Significant data breach hits Partners HealthCare

May 1, 2015

health_passwordPartners HealthCare, a non-profit health care organization which includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, North Shore Medical Center, and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, released a statement that it suffered a major data breach after a group of employees received phishing emails on November 25, 2014. Phishing scams usually strike in the form of fraudulent email messages that direct people to a website infected with malware in an attempt to obtain private information such as passwords and credit card numbers. The hackers gained unauthorized access to the email accounts of employees within the Partners HealthCare network.

Partners stated it informed 3,300 affected patients on April 30, 2015 via mail that the breach included patient information, but Partners’ electronic medical records had not been compromised. Some of the sensitive patient information collected include names, addresses, dates of birth, and telephone numbers.  In some cases, Social Security numbers and clinical information were also disclosed.

Despite the breach, Partners claims there is no evidence that the patient information in the emails has been misused, but is encouraging those impacted to review their benefits statements to confirm the information is accurate.  Partners also stated that once the breach occurred, it took the necessary measures to secure email accounts, contact law enforcement, and initiate an investigation.

At this point, employers can direct any affected employees to the Partners website, and encourage them to thoroughly review their Explanation of Benefits (EOB).

WGA is continuing to monitor this breaking news and will keep you apprised of any new developments. Please contact your WGA Client Executive should you have any immediate questions.

About the Author

Priya Setty is an Assistant Vice President in the Employee Benefits Group at WGA. Her role involves educating and providing compliance guidance to clients in applicable local, state and federal regulations affecting their insurance programs and employees. She is also a member of WGA’s Health Reform Advisory Committee.

617.646.0216 | PSetty@wgains.com | Connect with Priya on LinkedIn