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Hospital hack puts 4.5M patients at risk

Hospital hack puts 4.5M patients at risk

SPOKANE, Wash. - Community Health Systems confirms that hackers have stolen personal information of approximately 4.5 million patients that may have visited Rockwood Clinic, Deaconess Hospital or Valley Hospital.

Those hackers gained access to names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birthday and phone numbers and anyone who has been seen or referred to those facilities in the last five years is at risk for fraud.

CHS says that the attack took place in April and June. Medical and credit card information was not taken.

"This is just where we need be careful, be cautious, and be aware with what's happening to our accounts and our personal information," Chelsea Maguire with the Better Business Bureau said.

Maguire said this breach differs from the recent Albertson's cyberattack because rather than taking credit and debit card numbers to drain bank accounts, they took info that could potentially open new ones.

"So they can open brand-new accounts, brand-new identities, tax, identity theft, all of these opportunities open the door because they have the key to all those different areas," Maguire said.

So what can you do to protect yourself? McGuire suggests changing debit and credit card numbers if you can and checking your credit history routinely to see if anything has been opened in your name.

In a statement released to KXLY Tuesday, Jill Fix with Rockwood Health System says they have no reason to believe the data will be used, but are still notifying all affected patients by letter and offered free identity theft protection. Fix says those who are affected will receive a letter by Aug. 30 which will have that information in it.

Fix added those who do not get a letter by Aug. 30 are safe to assume they are not affected by this data breach.