LAWRENCE — Lawrence General Hospital says a minimal amount of personal patient information in the hospital's computer system was compromised in a mid-September data breach.
LGH officials said the breach took place sometime between Sept. 9 and Sept. 19 and that an "unauthorized party" may have accessed "names, patient identification numbers, insurance type and LGH-assigned visit identification numbers," among other data.
A limited amount of clinical information may have been accessed and the Social Security numbers of fewer than five people were potentially involved, according to hospital spokesman Benjamin French.
No employee information was accessed during the breach, the hospital said.
On Sept. 19, the hospital took its computer systems offline temporarily out of "an abundance of caution" to maintain the integrity of system data, according to a previous LGH statement. During that time, staff continued to care for patients — including walk-ins to the emergency center — but patients arriving by ambulance were diverted to other facilities for about 36 hours, the statement said.
While the hospital’s systems were offline, staff members filled out medical forms by hand and communicated by phone and in face-to-face meetings, according to the statement.
Lawrence General said it is in the process of notifying patients whose information may have been compromised. The hospital is contacting those patients by mail and has set up a toll-free hotline to answer questions, French said.
The hotline, 833-256-3153, accepts calls Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., hospital officials said.
Hospital officials recommend that patients whose information may have been compromised in the computer incident review statements they receive from their health care providers. Any charges or other claims that are questionable should be brought to the attention of the provider immediately, hospital officials said.
New software has been installed on LGH computer systems to guard against data breaches in the future, hospital officials said.