Hospital hack affects 4.5M patients

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Community Health Systems, a hospital network that operates eight hospitals in South Carolina and more than 200 across the nation, says information for 4.5 million patients has been hacked, CNNMoney reports.

Community Health Systems says no medical or credit card records were taken in the attack that could have happened in April and June. They say the attack bypassed security systems to take patient names, addresses, birthdates, phone and Social Security numbers.

The information came from patients who were referred to or received care from doctors tied to the company over the last five years.

The data breach could impact anyone who was treated in a CHS hospital within the last five years, or was referred there by an outside doctor, according to CNN.

The hackers did not gain access to medical histories, credit card information or clinic operations, but were able to obtain names, Social Security numbers, addresses and other information that could be used for identity theft, the article states.

CNN says experts learned the hackers were based in China and launched the attacks between April and June.

The hospitals CHS operates in the Pee Dee area include:

-Marlboro Park Hospital, Bennettsville

-Carolinas Hospital System, Marion

-Carolinas Hospital System, Florence

-Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, Hartsville

The following statement was released from the director of the Bennettsville and Florence hospitals:

"Limited personal identification data belonging to some patients who were seen at physician practices and clinics affiliated with Chesterfield General Hospital and Marlboro Park Hospital over the past five years was transferred out of our organization in a criminal cyber attack by a foreign-based intruder. The transferred information did not include any medical information or credit card information, but it did include names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers and social security numbers.

We take very seriously the security and confidentiality of private patient information and we sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience to patients. Though we have no reason to believe that this data would ever be used, all affected patients are being notified by letter and offered free identity theft protection."

You can view a full list of CHS locations in South Carolina here: http://www.chs.net/serving-communities/locations/#SC

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