Shields Health Care Group Data Breach
The Lyon Firm is actively involved in personal privacy and healthcare data theft cases and is currently investigating Shields Health Care Group data breach claims on behalf of plaintiffs in Massachusetts and nationwide.
Shields Health Care Group recently became aware of suspicious activity on its network and determined that an unknown actor gained access to certain systems in March 2022.
An investigation revealed that patient data was acquired in that time frame. Shields investigated a security alert on or around March 18, 2022, but the data theft was not confirmed at that time. The HHS site estimates that around 2 million individuals may be impacted by the incident.
What Information was Compromised?
Based in Massachusetts, Shields Health Care Group provides MRI, PET/CT, and ambulatory surgical services to patients at more than 30 locations throughout New England.
Shields says compromised files may have contained the following patient information:
- Dates of birth
- Medical record numbers
- Clinical information
- Health insurance information
- Social Security numbers
- Billing Information
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated data breach lawyer and Privacy Attorney representing plaintiffs nationwide in class action security breach lawsuits.
Can You Sue following the Shields Health Care Data Breach?
Entities that collect and store data have a duty to protect personal information to the best of their ability. When they are negligent, and a data theft incident occurs, they may be liable for the following:
- Improperly monitoring data security systems for existing intrusions
- Not ensuring that vendors with access to computer systems and data employ reasonable security procedures
- Improperly training employees in handling emails containing personal data and maintain adequate email security practices
- Failure to implement technical policies and procedures to allow electronic data access only to individuals or software programs granted access rights
- Failure to implement procedures to review records of information system activity regularly, such as audit logs, access reports and security incident tracking reports
- Improperly protecting against reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of stored data
An experienced class action privacy attorney can determine if you are eligible to file a data breach lawsuit or join a class of plaintiffs. Lawyers investigating the matter can assist in determining the following:
- Did Shields Health Care Group fail to adopt security safeguards that would have prevented a breach?
- Did Shields Health Care notify customers as soon as it learned of the incident?
- Did Shields provide a complete list of all individuals impacted?
- Did Shields provide security in line with industry standards?
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule calls for data breach notifications to be issued to the Secretary of the Health and Human Services “without unnecessary delay.” No later than 60 days after the date of discovery of a data breach, healthcare entities have a duty to alert the government and begin preparing to alert the public.
Consumer privacy attorneys say there has been a trend for HIPAA-regulated entities to wait as long as possible before alerting affected individuals, a practice that place consumers at a higher risk of identity theft and fraud.
In many cases, data breach notifications have been sent out many months after a security breach incident was detected. There may be valid reasons for a delay in reporting, though in some cases this institutes a severe disservice to those impacted by a data theft event.
Delays to individual data theft notifications could mean individuals’ Personal Health Information (PHI) has been in the hands of criminals for many months before they are even aware about the data theft.
Privacy lawyers claim promptly sending out individual data breach notification letters and being transparent about the fraud risk for individuals is not only ethical, but the only way to avoid stiff penalties.
The HHS has made it clear that if healthcare entities do not comply with the 60 day rule from the date of data breach discovery, they may be liable for notification violations.
What Should You Do Following a Data Breach?
Regardless of the reason for a security breach, victims have the right to file a claim against a company for failing to protect their information. All companies and organizations must exercise reasonable care in protecting patient information, and if they do not, they can be held liable for the damages that result, including identity theft.
Security breach plaintiffs and privacy attorneys representing plaintiffs have been able to settle multi-million dollar recoveries. If you or a loved one has received notice of a data breach affecting you, or suspect signs of identity theft, contact a data theft lawyer for a free consultation.
Individuals can be ruined financially and emotionally, and deserve proper online security measures. But many companies and hospitals violate privacy laws and consumer rights, and thus face class action lawsuits.
After a data breach turns your life upside down, remember that you are not the only victim. There are millions of Americans who suffer from data privacy events every year, and in turn, seek legal action for compensation and to hold companies accountable for negligent security systems.
If you want more information on current data breach litigation and how to file a data theft class action lawsuit, contact The Lyon Firm for a free and confidential Shields Health Care Group case review.