Many people consider their doctor to be a trusted expert, guiding themselves and loved ones through difficult times in their lives. They are entrusted with not only your body and wellbeing, but also with some of your most personal of all information – your medical records. Patients assume that their doctor’s offices have necessary measures in place to keep not only their bodies safe but also their digital information safe. This is why it is all the more alarming to discover your medical records have been the target of a data breach!
WILMINGTON SURGICAL DATA BREACH DETAILS
On December 17, 2020, Wilmington Surgical Associates, P.A. sent letters to current and former patients that it had been the target of a large and successful data breach. According to notices sent to the victims whose data was stolen, the practice discovered the attack some two months before – on October 19, 2020. The notice does not identify the date the breach occurred, or whether the breach occurred over an extended time period. In data reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, the practice estimated that nearly 115,000 individuals had their data exposed during the breach.
Among the data accessed by the hacker are patients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, insurance information, and other demographic and clinical information.
HISTORY OF DATA BREACHES IN THE US
Data breaches have become widespread in the healthcare sector. Among various data, healthcare-related data is some of the most sensitive and personally consequential when it is compromised. A report focusing on healthcare data breaches found that the “average total cost to resolve an identity theft-related incident…came to about $20,000,” and that the victims were often forced to pay out-of-pocket costs for health care they did not receive in order to restore coverage.Almost 50% of the victims lost their health care coverage as a result of such an incident, while nearly one-third said their insurance premiums went up after the event. Forty percent of the customers were never able to resolve their identity theft at all. Data breaches and identity theft have a crippling effect on individuals and detrimentally impact the economy.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you were a victim of the Wilmington Surgical Associates data breach, or for that matter – any similar data breach, the Federal Trade Commission has a helpful website with steps to take following the aftermath of a breach. The site is available at https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/Steps
Finally, victims can join a class-action lawsuit that was filed by Rhine Law Firm which seeks to force Willmington Surgical Associates to implement stronger cybersecurity measures, to submit to audits of its security practices, and to commit to practices and procedures to ensure that a future attack is unsuccessful. The lawsuit also seeks compensation for your losses and also more robust credit monitoring and fraud resolution services than the basic services offered by the companies who suffered the breach.
If you were the victim of the Wilmington Surgical Associates breach, you should contact the lawyers of the Rhine Law Firm, P.C. The firm’s data breach lawyers have represented millions of Americans who had their data stolen from financial services companies, health care organizations, and other companies who collect and store sensitive data on their customers, patients and employees. We offer a free, no-obligation review of your case. Let our experienced, local attorneys help you navigate through restoring your losses from this latest data breach!
 Identity Theft Resource Center, 2017 Annual Data Breach Year-End Review, https://www.idtheftcenter.org/2017-data-breaches/ (last visited October 28, 2020).
Identity Theft Resource Center Identity Theft Resource Center’s Annual End-of-Year Data Breach Report Reveals 17 Percent Increase in Breaches Over 2018, https://www.idtheftcenter.org/identity-theft-resource-centers-annual-end-of-year-data-breach-report-reveals-17-percent-increase-in-breaches-over-2018/ (last visited October 28, 2020).
 Elinor Mills, Study: Medical identity theft is costly for victims, CNET, March 3, 2010, https://www.cnet.com/news/study-medical-identity-theft-is-costly-for-victims/ (last visited October 28, 2020).