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County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
External Relations & Communications
313 N. Figueroa Street, Room 806
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-8144
Fax: (213) 481-1406
email: media@ph.lacounty.gov
Public Notice for Public Health Clients Regarding Potential Breach of HIPAA Information

On behalf of Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS)
and Department of Public Health (DPH)
C/O ID Experts
PO Box 6336
Portland, OR 97228-6336

May 21, 2014

Dear Los Angeles County Public Health Client,

We are writing to provide you an important communication regarding your personal information which may have been compromised. We take patient privacy very seriously, and it is important to us that you are made fully aware of the event.

We provide patient billing and other services for Los Angeles County. This letter is being sent to you as part of Los Angeles County’s and Sutherland Healthcare Solutions’ (SHS) commitment to protecting patient privacy.

Brief Description of the Incident
On February 5, 2014, SHS’ Southern California office was broken into and eight computers were stolen. The Torrance Police Department was immediately informed of this incident. The Los Angeles County District Attorney is the lead investigator where this criminal case is ongoing. After analyzing the information contained on the stolen computers, we identified a group of impacted individuals and on February 25, 2014, we provided that information to Los Angeles County. Since then, we have continued our analysis to determine if other individuals were affected. On April 24, 2014, we provided Los Angeles County with an update that additional information was compromised. On May 13, 2014, we confirmed that your personal information was also included on the computer equipment that was stolen on February 5, 2014.

What Information Was Involved
The computers contained personal information including your first and last name, date of birth, date of service, gender, and insurance information. Please know that your Social Security information was not on the computers that were stolen.

Actions We Are Taking In Response to This Incident
We take this incident very seriously and are taking the necessary precautions to protect all patient related information from theft or criminal activity. SHS and Los Angeles County are actively working with law enforcement. Los Angeles County will be notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. In addition, we are reviewing our policies and procedures and have provided additional training to our workforce. Los Angeles County is also working with us to review our information privacy and security program and determine whether enhancements should be made.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself
Because of the type of personal information involved, we encourage you to take steps to protect yourself from identity theft. Even though your Social Security information WAS NOT stored on the stolen computers, out of an abundance of caution, we are offering you credit monitoring services through ID Experts® to provide you with FraudStop™ Healthcare Edition. ID Experts’ fully managed recovery services will include: 12 months of credit monitoring, a$20,000 insurance reimbursement policy, Healthcare Identity Protection Toolkit™, exclusive educational materials and access to fraud resolution representatives. With this protection, ID Experts will help you resolve issues if your identity is compromised. We encourage you to contact ID Experts with any questions and to enroll in the free services by calling 1-877-868-9284 or going to www.myidcare.com/securityandprotection. ID Experts is available Monday through Friday from 6 am - 7pm Pacific Time. Please note the deadline to enroll is August 30, 2014.

We encourage you to take full advantage of this service offering. Representatives from ID Experts are aware of the incident and can answer questions or concerns you may have regarding protection of your personal information. If additional updates are provided, that information will be posted at www.myidcare.com/securityandprotection.

You will find detailed instructions for enrollment on the enclosed Recommended Steps document. Also, you will need to reference the following access code when calling or enrolling on the website, so please do not discard this letter.

In addition, you may also contact one of the following credit bureaus:

Experian
PO Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
(888) 397-3742
www.experian.com

TransUnion Fraud - Victim Assistance Division
PO Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
(800) 680-7289
www.transunion.com

Equifax
PO 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
(800) 525-6285
www.equifax.com

Federal law allows consumers one free credit report each year from each of the three (3) national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You have the option of requesting all three (3) reports at the same time or requesting them individually, at different times throughout the year.

Questions or Additional Information
DPH will post additional information. The information can be found on DPH’s website, http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/. We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern that this matter may have caused you. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work together to protect you and your information.

Sincerely,

Karen J. Pugh
Vice President and Head of Healthcare Compliance


Recommended Steps to Help Protect Your Information

Please Note: Minors, under the age of 18, should not have a credit history established and are under the age to secure credit. Therefore credit monitoring may not be applicable at this time. All other services provided in the membership will apply. No one is allowed to place a fraud alert on your credit report except you, please follow the instructions below to place the alert.

  1. Website. Go to www.myidcare.com/securityandprotection and follow the instructions for enrollment. Once you have completed your enrollment, you will receive a welcome letter by email (or by mail if you do not provide an email address when you sign up). The welcome letter will direct you to the exclusive ID Experts’ Member Website where you will find other valuable educational information.

  2. Activate the credit monitoring provided as part of your membership with ID Experts, which is paid for by SHS. Credit monitoring is included in the membership, but you must personally activate it for it to be effective. Note: You must have established credit and access to a computer and the internet to use this service. If you need assistance, ID Experts will assist you.

  3. Telephone. Contact ID Experts at 1-877-868-9284 to gain additional information about this event and speak with knowledgeable representatives about the appropriate steps to take to protect your credit identity.

  4. Review your credit reports. We recommend that you remain vigilant by reviewing account statements and monitoring credit reports. Under federal law, you also are entitled every 12 months to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies. To obtain a free annual credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. You may wish to stagger your requests so that you receive a free report by one of the three credit bureaus every four months.

    If you discover any suspicious items and have enrolled with ID Experts, notify them immediately by calling or by visiting their Member website and filing a theft report.

    If you file a theft report with ID Experts, you will be contacted by a member of the Recovery Department who will help you determine the cause of the suspicious items. In the unlikely event that you fall victim to identity theft as a consequence of this incident, you will be assigned an ID Experts Recovery Advocate who will work on your behalf to identify, stop and reverse the damage quickly.

    You should also know that you have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity fraud. Please note that in order to file a crime report or incident report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some kind of proof that you have been a victim. A police report is often required to dispute fraudulent items. You can report suspected incidents of identity theft to local law enforcement or to the Attorney General.

  5. Place Fraud Alerts with the three credit bureaus. You can place a fraud alert at one of the three major credit bureaus by phone and also via Experian’s or Equifax’s website. A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures, including contacting you, before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. For that reason, placing a fraud alert can protect you, but also may delay you when you seek to obtain credit. The contact information for all three bureaus is provided on the front page of your letter.

    It is again necessary to contact only ONE of these bureaus and use only ONE of these methods. As soon as one of the three bureaus confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place alerts on their records as well. You will receive confirmation letters in the mail and will then be able to order all three credit reports, free of charge, for your review.

  6. Security Freeze. By placing a security freeze, someone who fraudulently acquires your personal identifying information will not be able to use that information to open new accounts or borrow money in your name. You will need to contact the three national credit reporting bureaus listed above in writing to place the freeze. Keep in mind that when you place the freeze, you will not be able to borrow money, obtain instant credit, or get a new credit card until you temporarily lift or permanently remove the freeze. The cost of placing the freeze varies by the state you live in and for each credit reporting agency. However, if you are a victim of identity theft and have filed a report with your local law enforcement agency or submitted an ID Theft Complaint Form with the Federal Trade Commission, there may be no charge to place the freeze.

  7. You can obtain additional information about the steps you can take to avoid identity theft from the following. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them.

    For California Residents:
    Visit the California Office of Privacy Protection
    (www.privacy.ca.gov) for additional information
    on protection against identity theft

    For Maryland Residents:
    Office of the Attorney General of Maryland Consumer Protection Division
    200 St. Paul Place
    Baltimore, MD 21202
    www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer
    Telephone: 1-888-743-0023

    For North Carolina Residents:
    Office of the Attorney General of North Carolina
    9001 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
    www.ncdoj.com/
    Telephone: 1-919-716-6400

    For all other US Residents:
    Identity Theft Clearinghouse
    Federal Trade Commission
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20580
    www.consumer.gov/idtheft
    1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
    TDD: 1-202-326-2502

 
 
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