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Cook County Health warns of data breach for 1.2 million patients at medical transportation firm

Cook County Health warns of major data breach
Cook County Health warns of major data breach 00:38

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than 1 million patients of the Cook County hospital system could have had their personal information exposed in a data breach earlier this year.

Cook County Health said Perry Johnson & Associates (PJ&A), which once provided medical transportation services for its hospitals and clinics, informed the county of a data breach in July.

PJ&A said an unauthorized individual accessed systems where patient data was stored in April, and personal information of Cook County Health patients might have been affected, according to the county.

Cook County Health terminated its contract with PJ&A and stopped sharing its data with the company.

On Oct. 9, the company provided Cook County Health with a final list of affected patients. The company told the county records for 1.2 million patients were affected – and the information exposed in the data breach might have included names, dates of birth, addresses, medical record numbers, encounter numbers, medical information, and dates and times of service.

Approximately 2,600 patients' Social Security numbers also may have been included in the records involved.

"CCH has no evidence that any personal information has been misused. However, patients should monitor medical bills for any suspicious activity," the county said in a statement. "CCH is committed to upholding our patients' privacy. We apologize for this incident and will continue to work with our business associates to ensure that data is appropriately protected."

Cook County Health said it is notifying affected patients, and providing tips for how to protect their data, as well as information on how to monitor credit reports, and place freezes on their credit reports if needed.

Patients whose Social Security numbers might have been impacted also will be given the chance to enroll in free credit monitoring and identity protection services.

Patients who may have been affected and would like more information can call (888) 867-3881. 

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