700 Avera Health patients' info compromised, including Social Security numbers, report says

Avera Health
Avera Health

Hundreds of patients' information at a leading healthcare system headquartered in Sioux Falls have been compromised in a data breach, according to a news release.

Avera Health was alerted by one of its vendors, MCG Health, that hundreds of Avera patients' information was compromised after MCG data was breached. MCG provides patient care guidelines to health care providers and health plans.

About 700 Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center patients' information, including names, Social Security numbers, medical codes, postal addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth and gender were accessed by an "unauthorized party." Affected patients will be sent a letter by MCG notifying them their information has been compromised.

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MCG learned about the data security issue on March 25, retained a "leading forensic investigation firm" to investigate the data breach and is coordinating with law enforcement. Several other MCG customers were also affected.

The release does not say how many customers total were affected by the MCG data breach. MCG published a notification online about the breach last week, including steps to report incidents and check your credit report.

MCG started sending out notices on June 10 to affected customers and advised them to monitor their credit reports and account information, and to check for unfamiliar activity. If suspicious activity is observed, affected people should call their credit card or banking company.

"Avera takes our patients’ information seriously, we apologize for any inconvenience and have cooperated fully to ensure people were notified in a timely manner," the news release states.

MCG has "deployed additional monitoring tools" and promises to enhance its system security, according to the release.

MCG has established a dedicated toll-free telephone number for affected individuals who may have questions or who would like additional information about the issue. The toll-free number is 866-475-7221 and is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Some Avera Health patients' info compromised after MCG data breach