HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Crestwood Medical Center, owned by Community Health Systems, released a statement Monday following news CHS hospitals had fallen victim to computer hackers.
The news means data was stolen on 4.5 million patients, including patients who were seen at Crestwood in recent years.
Crestwood said all affected patients are being notified by letter and will be offered free identity theft protection.
Crestwood's statement follows:
Limited personal identification data belonging to some patients who were seen at some Crestwood employed physician practices and clinics affiliated with Crestwood Medical Center over the past five years was transferred out of the CHS system in a criminal cyber attack by a foreign-based intruder. The transferred information did not include any medical information or credit card information, but it did include names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers and social security numbers.
We take very seriously the security and confidentiality of private patient information and we sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience to patients. Though we have no reason to believe that this data would ever be used, all affected patients are being notified by letter and offered free identity theft protection.
Our organization believes the intruder was a foreign-based group out of China that was likely looking for intellectual property. The intruder used highly sophisticated methods to bypass security systems. The intruder has been eradicated and applications have been deployed to protect against future attacks. We are working with federal law enforcement authorities in their investigation and will support prosecution of those responsible for this attack.
Many American companies and organizations have been victimized by foreign-based cyber intrusions. It is up to the Federal Government to create a national cyber defense that can prevent this type of criminal invasion from happening in the future.