Laptop theft may lead to release of patient data

February 17, 2006

LEWISTON - Personal information may have been released on patients at Mount St. Mary's Hospital from 2001 to 2004, according to President and CEO Angelo G. Calbone.

Two laptops were stolen recently in an armed robbery in the New Jersey office of a national consulting firm that was doing work for Mount St. Mary's. Although there is a suspect in the robbery, the two laptops have not been found.

"This is a pretty routine business practice. We were one of 10 hospitals that had records with this consulting firm. They look at things like managing files, billing and collections. It's a routine thing that went haywire," said Fred Caso, Mount St. Mary's director of community relations.

In the robbery,a man's wallet and two laptops were taken. The laptops are password-protected and the files on the computer also were password-protected, Caso said.

However, he said, the hospital wants to warn people that personal information, such as date of birth, address and Social Security numbers, was on the laptops.

Calbone is notifying the affected patients of the incident and offering ways to safeguard themselves, such having credit agencies put a fraud alert on their accounts.

The hospital has established a dedicated phone line to answer questions from patients. Calls will be taken from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at 298-2000.

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