Health Care

Almost 12M patients may be affected in Quest Diagnostics data breach

Almost 12M patients may be affected in Quest Diagnostics data breach”

Quest Diagnostics has announced that there was a data breach within the American Medical Collection Agency, a billing collections service provider, which could have exposed approximately 11.9 million Quest patients.

In a release Monday, Quest said it was notified that between August 1, 2018 and March 30, 2019, someone had unauthorized access to the systems of AMCA, a billing collections vendor. No laboratory test results were involved. The number of patients impacted was only recently determined.

Quest said it's taking the matter "very seriously" and has suspended collections requests to AMCA.

Quest will be working with Optum360 to ensure that Quest patients are appropriately notified consistent with the law. An outside security expert has been hired to determine the damage of the breach.

It was only last week that one of New York's largest non-profits, a provider of residential and community care for vulnerable members of society, experienced a similar data breach - albeit on a far smaller scale.

Quest told CBS it has stopped using AMCA and is alerting patients. We remain committed to our system's security, data privacy, and the protection of personal information.

Darren Hayes, Assistant Professor at Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, said the announcement by Quest comes as no surprise "as healthcare records command higher prices on the black market than most types of personal identifiable information".

Quest Diagnostics said the personal information of 11.9 million customers has potentially been compromised.

According to the news release, AMCA informed Quest of the possible breach on May 14, 2019. The company has are dozens of locations across the Bay Area.

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