Orleans Medical Clinic in southern Indiana is offering 6,890 patients one year of identity theft protection from Equifax after discovering that its computer servers were hacked.

The practice is owned by Jose Lopez, MD, who has been practicing medicine in the region since 2001 and also serves as the county’s health officer.

On April 17, the practice became aware of suspicious activity on a computer server, and an investigation found that the server was left unprotected following an upgrade.

It is not clear how the practice learned of the breach, and Lopez was not available for comment. Healthcare organizations often learn from law enforcement agencies that their computer systems have been attacked, as an investigation of one attack leads to evidence of additional ones.

First access of the server occurred on April 5, but the practice did not complete confirmation of affected individuals and compromised information until July 21, nearly four months after discovery of the breach.

“While our investigation was not able to definitively conclude whether the hackers actually accessed or obtained a particular patient’s information, it would have been possible for the hackers to access and obtain patient information about all of our current and former patients, including medical records and demographic information, such as date of birth and Social Security number,” according to a statement from the practice. The patient portal was not affected.

While no financial information was on the server, Orleans Medical Clinic encourages patients to contact their banks and credit card companies, and check bills and statements for the next year.

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