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Advocate Medical Group computer burglary could affect 4 million patients


Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Medical Group said Monday it is working with law enforcement to investigate the July 15 burglary of four computers while it notifies the 4 million patients potentially affected by the theft.

Advocate, which describes itself as the largest integrated health care system in Illinois, said there is no indication to date the information on the computers has been misused, or that the computers had been stolen for their data. A spokesman said in a statement the computers’ data had not been encrypted.

Advocate said the computers were stolen from an administrative office in Park Ridge, Ill. It said the Park Ridge Police Department was notified the day the theft was discovered, and that while the computers did not contain patient medical records, they did house patient information including names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Advocate said the computers also had “limited” clinical information, such as the treating physicians and/or departments, diagnoses, medical record numbers, medical service codes and health insurance data.

Advocate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin McCune said in a statement that the 4 million patients are being provided free credit monitoring and identify theft protection. The company said in its statement it is taking “aggressive” steps to reduce the possibility of this happening again, including the addition of 24/7 security personnel at the Park Ridge facility and enhanced technical safeguards.

“The most important thing is that this issue has no impact on patient care. Security is a top priority for our health care ministry. Nothing leads us to believe that the computers were taken for the information they contained or that any patient information has been used inappropriately,” Dr. McCune said in the statement.