CHS data breach results in 4.5 million patients affected

First Posted: 8/18/2014

A cyber attack on Community Health Systems, Inc. (CHS) has resulted in 4.5 million patients being affected nationwide.

According to a filing filed by the company, the attack took place in April and June 2014. CHS and its forensic expert Mandiant believe that the attacker was an “advanced persistent threat” originating from China. The group allegedly used high sophisticated malware and technology to attack the company’s computer systems, and was able to bypass security measures to copy and transfer certain data from the company.

CHS, based in Franklin, Tennessee, owns or leases 206 hospitals in 29 states, including Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, First Hospital in Kingston, Regional Hospital and Moses Taylor Hospital, both in Scranton, and Berwick Hospital.

“The Company has confirmed that this data did not include patient credit card, medical or clinical information,” the filing stated. “The data is, however, considered protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”) because it includes patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and social security numbers.”

The filing states that the 4.5 million patients affected by the cyber security breach include those who were referred to or received services from CHS physicians in the last 5 years. No indication has been as to how many patients in the Wyoming Valley have been affected.

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