Notice Regarding Stolen Laptop

Laptop May Have Contained Some of Our Patients’ Information

At Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (Children’s) we are committed to protecting the health information of our patients and we take privacy and security very seriously. Regrettably, this notice concerns an incident involving some of our patients’ information.

A password protected laptop issued to a Children’s employee was reported stolen on April 23, 2014. The laptop was taken from a locked vehicle the night before, and the incident was reported to the Atlanta Police Department. Children’s immediately began a thorough investigation to determine what, if any, patient information may have been stored on the laptop. Initially, our investigation found that no individually identifiable information was located on the laptop. As we continued to investigate, we learned on July 10, 2014 that the laptop may have included emails containing a small number of our patients’ information, including:  name, age, medical record number, account number, date of visit, and diagnostic information. Our investigation determined that the laptop did not contain any Social Security numbers or any other financial or health insurance information.  The incident did not affect all of our patients.

We have continued to work with the police, and at this time, the laptop has not been found. We have no reason to believe that the laptop was taken for the information it contained or that any patient information has been accessed by an unauthorized person. Additionally, it would require specific technical knowledge and software in order to access the information on the stolen laptop. Further, the file containing the emails is hidden by default on our laptops and would not generally be accessible to a typical user.

As a precautionary measure, however, we began mailing notification letters to the affected patients on August 29, 2014, and have established a dedicated call center to assist patients with any questions. If you believe you are affected but have not received a letter by September 9, 2014, or if you have any questions, please call 1-866-422-0150 Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Rest assured that Children's commitment to providing quality care and services includes protecting health information, and we have policies and procedures in place to protect our patients’ privacy. To help ensure that this incident does not occur again, we have reinforced with our employees the importance of securing all portable devices and we have re-educated our staff on the policies and procedures that we have in place to protect all patient information.

Published: Friday, August 29, 2014