San Francisco patient records stolen in Torrance burglary

SAN FRANCISCO — Records for nearly 56,000 San Francisco patients, some with Social Security numbers, were stored in computers stolen last month from a medical billing firm in Torrance, said San Francisco’s Department of Public Health on Friday.

“We are working to ensure that all patients are notified and provided with resources to help them protect their privacy,” said Barbara Garcia, San Francisco’s health director.

Most of the San Francisco patients whose records were stolen were uninsured and visited the city’s public health offices, including San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, between August 2012 and November 2013, the department said.

The break-in at Sutherland Healthcare Solutions in Torrance occurred Feb. 5. San Francisco officials said Sutherland informed them on Tuesday that personal information for about 55,900 of their patients had been stolen.

Los Angeles County public health records involving about 168,500 patients also were compromised by the burglary. A class action lawsuit against Sutherland was filed in Los Angeles on March 13 on behalf of patients affected by the theft.

To prevent a future breach of patient confidentiality, Sutherland has said it would encrypt its computers, tether them to desks, and require all data be saved to share drives, not individual computers.

“Sutherland is offering San Francisco patients free credit monitoring and recovery services for one year with identity theft insurance coverage of up to $20,000,” San Francisco officials said.

Starting Monday, patients may call Sutherland at (866) 486-4809 or go online to learn if their records were compromised.

Torrance police are heading the criminal investigation.

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