Email HIPAA Breach Affects 1300 Patients of RiverMend Health

RiverMend Health, a Augusta, GA-based specialty behavioral health provider has reported an unauthorized person has gained access to the email account of one of its employees after suspicious emails were identified being sent from that employee’s account.

The unauthorized access was discoverd on August 10, 2017. The suspicious email activity was examined and access to the account was restricted the following day. The breach investigation showed access to the account was first obtained two weeks earlier on July 27.

In the two weeks that the email account was being accessed, it is possible that the employee’s emails were viewed by the attacker. Those emails held a variety of protected health date pertaining to 1,300 current and former patients. RiverMend Health has employed the services of a well-known computer forensics firm to help with the investigation and determine the full details of the breach and the extent of the attack. RiverMend Health has not released how access to the email account was obtained, but has stated that steps have been taken to stop further breaches of this nature from happening.

The investigation has, so far, not found any evidence to suggest emails – and PHI – were accessed, stolen, or misused, nor that the theft of protected health information was the motivation for the cyberattack. However, it was not possible to eliminate PHI access with a high degree of certainty.

Patients have now been advised of the breach by mail and have been warned that the following information was possibly accessed: names, age or date of birth, address, referral source, RiverMend facility used, services rendered, demographic information, insurance and/or billing details, and diagnostic data

All patients affected by the breach have been told to use caution and examine their credit reports, accounts and explanation of benefits statements for any sign of unusual activity and to report any suspicious activity to RiverMend as soon as possible.