MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Fairview and North Memorial hospitals are working to alert their patients after a laptop containing patient information was stolen from a locked car.
The health systems are sending letters to nearly 16,000 patients apologizing for the incident and offering free identity protection services.
Letters were sent to about 14,000 connected with Fairview and another 2,800 patients with North Memorial.
The laptop was stolen in a Minneapolis restaurant parking lot. Police were contacted and the cast is still under investigation.
According to health officials, there hasn’t been any evidence that the patient information has been accessed or misused. The computer contained files containing Fairview patient names, addresses, dates of birth and account balances. Fairview also said some patients’ social security numbers were also on the laptop.
Credit card numbers or other financial information was not on the laptop, according to Fairview.
Also, spokespersons from North Memorial said that the computer contained patient names, medical record numbers and other limited clinical information from their hospital, as well, but did not contain the same information on patients as was reported by Fairview.
Officials say the laptop belonged to an employee of Accretive Health, a healthcare firm that provides business and patient care coordination services for Fairview.
Both Fairview and Accretive Health have policies and procedures that require all laptops to be fully encrypted. However, an investigation showed the laptop that was stolen was only password protected but not encrypted, so the files are potentially at risk of being accessed.
Accretive Health said they acknowledged this mistake and have invested in technology to ensure this does not happen again.
Fairview is offering free identity theft protection and fraud monitoring services for its affected patients, which will be paid for by Accretive Health.