Community Health Systems, which operates 10 hospitals in Arkansas, has announced that its computers have been hacked and data on 4.5 million patients stolen, CNN Money is reporting. The company operates 206 hospitals across the country; Fox 16 has listed the Arkansas hospitals as Forrest City Medical Center; Harris Hospital in Newport; Helena Regional Medical Center; Medical Center of South Arkansas in El Dorado; Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville; Northwest Medical Center-Springdale; Siloam Springs Regional Hospital; Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith, Summit Medical Center in Van Buren, and Willow Creek Women’s Hospital in Johnson.
Rebecca Pearrow, spokesperson for Harris Hospital, told the Times that no medical or credit card information was accessed, but names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birthdays and telephone numbers were.
Pearrow said she was informed by CHS this morning of the hacking this morning, which took place in April and June from a Chinese address. “We believe it’s likely they were looking for intellectual property,” Pearrow said, and that it is unlikely the data will be used. Nevertheless, she said, “We are taking it very seriously.” CHS will send out letters to all affected patients and offer free identity theft protection and is working with federal law enforcement to try to identify the cyber criminals.
UPDATE: Patricia Driscoll, marketing director at the Northwest Medical Center-Springdale, said that patients at Sparks and Summit hospitals were not affected.