In April 2017, Hill Country Memorial Hospital (“Hill Country”) of Fredericksburg, Texas advised its patients and some job applicants of a privacy event that may have compromised certain personal information. The events are believed to be the result of criminal activity.
Approximately on February 21, 2017, an unauthorized individual not affiliated with Hill Country accessed the email account of a Hill Country employee containing information regarding some patients and job applicants. The email account contained information including names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, patient identification numbers, prescription information, diagnosis information, procedure information, and time and date of treatment. Hill Country notified law enforcement, secured the affected email account and is implementing additional data security measures to prevent future incidents.
Investigators believe that the individual accessed the email account only in order to submit fraudulent invoices to Hill Country’s accounts payable department for payment. However, Hill Country cannot confirm which, if any, emails in the account the individual accessed and whether there was any resulting acquisition, access, use, or disclosure of personal information in the emails. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, Hill Country notified all potentially affected individuals about this issue and offered them one year of credit protection services through Equifax® at no cost to the them. Hill Country will continue cooperating with any continued law enforcement investigation this incident.
“We take patient privacy seriously, and are very sorry for any concern or inconvenience this incident has caused or may cause to anyone who has been affected,” said Jayne Pope, the Chief Executive Officer.
Hill Country advises those who may be affected by this incident that they may obtain a free copy of their credit report once a year online at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. Hill Country recommends that all potentially affected individuals obtain a copy of their report and review it carefully for any discrepancies or any inaccurate or suspicious items, or accounts they did not open or inquiries they did not authorize, and immediately report any incorrect information to the credit reporting company.
In addition, individuals can place a fraud alert or security freeze on their credit file by contacting one or more of the three national credit reporting agencies listed below. A fraud alert tells lenders to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts, while placing a security freeze will prevent lenders from accessing your credit report in connection with new credit application, which will prevent them from opening an accounting or extending credit.
Potentially affected individuals should also refer to the following state-specific information on additional steps they can take to protect themselves from potential harm or misuse of their information as a result of this incident. For additional questions or information, individuals may contact Hill Country at 830-997-1338.
Additional Notification Information
For residents of California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming:
It is recommended by state law that you remain vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by reviewing credit card account statements and monitoring your credit report for unauthorized activity. You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, whether or not you suspect any unauthorized activity on your account by contacting any one or more of the national consumer reporting agencies listed below. They can also provide you with information about fraud alerts and security freezes.
For residents of Iowa:
State law advises you to report any suspected identity theft to law enforcement or to the Attorney General.
For residents of Oregon:
State law advises you to report any suspected identity theft to law enforcement, including the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission.
For residents of Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and North Carolina:
State laws require us to tell you that you can obtain information from the Federal Trade Commission about steps you can take to avoid identity theft (including how to place a fraud alert or security freeze). If you are a Maryland, Michigan, or North Carolina resident, you may also be able to obtain this information from your state’s Attorney General.
MD Attorney General's Office
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
NC Attorney General’s Office
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699
MI Attorney General’s Office
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20580
For residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, West Virginia:
State laws require us to inform you of your right to obtain a police report if you are a victim of identity theft. You also have the right to place a security freeze on your credit report. A security freeze prohibits a credit reporting agency from releasing any information from a consumer’s credit report without written authorization; however, using a security freeze may delay your ability to obtain credit.
To place a security freeze on your credit report, send a request to a consumer reporting agency by certified mail, overnight mail, or regular stamped mail. The following information must be included when requesting a security freeze: (1) full name, with middle initial and any suffixes; (2) Social Security number; (3) date of birth; (4) current address and any previous addresses for the past five years; (5) Proof of current address, such as a current utility or telephone bill, (6) a legible photocopy of a government issued identification, and (7) any applicable incident report or complaint with a law enforcement agency or the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The request must also include a copy of a government-issued identification card and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank or insurance statement. It is essential that each copy be legible, display your name and current mailing address, and the date of issue. The consumer reporting agency may charge a fee of up to $10.00 to place a freeze or lift or remove a freeze, unless you are a victim of identity theft or the spouse of a victim of identity theft, and you have submitted a valid police report relating to the identity theft incident to the consumer reporting agency.