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Texas Health Resources reveals possible data breach, offers to help affected patients

Texas Health Resources emails containing private patient information may have gotten into the hands of an unauthorized third party.

Officials with the health care corporation have mailed letters to the less than 4,000 patients who may have been affected and have also established a dedicated call center to answer any questions patients might have, according to a THR spokesperson.

Law enforcement personnel told THR officials about the possible data breach in January, but asked them to not notify their patients or the public while they pursued their investigation, according to a news release from the corporation.

THR was recently allowed to speak openly about the investigation, which is part of a much larger incident which is nationwide in scope, the release said. This incident affected certain Texas Health patients who received care and treatment primarily in October of last year.

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THR’s own investigation concluded that the email accounts at risk contained patients’ names, addresses, medical record numbers, dates of birth, insurance information, clinical information, and in some instances Social Security numbers, driver’s license and state identification numbers.

According to THR officials, there is no evidence that any patient information has been misused.

But, patients are being cautioned to carefully review any insurance statements they get and alert their insurers if they see charges for services not rendered.

For those patients whose Social Security numbers are at risk, Texas Health is offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity protection services, the release said.

Those patients who believe they are affected can call a dedicated call center established by Texas Health at 1-855-331-3705, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time.

Not all Texas Health patients were affected by this incident, the release said.

Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the nation. It owns 29 hospitals that are operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with the company, including institutions such as Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist in Fort Worth and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas.

This story contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

Article source: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article208928464.html

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