PHI of 4,458 Patients Stored on Stolen FHN Healthcare Laptop

FHN Healthcare, which manages FHN Memorial Hospital located in Freeport, IL and other family healthcare centers all over northwest Illinois, has discovered a laptop computer containing the protected health information (PHI) of 4,458 patients has been stolen from an employee’s vehicle.

The incident was quickly reported to the authorities; however, the laptop hasn’t been found. After reconstructing the data on the stolen laptop, FHN Healthcare discovered it contained patients’ information including names, addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, medical data, health insurance details, driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers.

FHN healthcare encrypts data on all of its laptop computers, but the stolen laptop was not encrypted. According to FHN, the lack of encryption was the result of a technical problem with the encryption software, although the device was password-protected.

After discovering the encryption failure, FHN Healthcare re-encrypted all of its laptop computers. The employee whose laptop was stolen underwent HIPAA re-training on mobile device protection and all other employees have had their training reinforced.

All patients affected by the data breach were sent notification letters by mail on November 2, 2018. FHN Healthcare has offered free identity theft protection services for one year to the patients whose driver’s license number or Social Security number was exposed.


About Liam Johnson
Liam Johnson has produced articles about HIPAA for several years. He has extensive experience in healthcare privacy and security. With a deep understanding of the complex legal and regulatory landscape surrounding patient data protection, Liam has dedicated his career to helping organizations navigate the intricacies of HIPAA compliance. Liam focusses on the challenges faced by healthcare providers, insurance companies, and business associates in complying with HIPAA regulations. Liam has been published in leading healthcare publications, including The HIPAA Journal. Liam was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The HIPAA Guide in 2023. Contact Liam via LinkedIn: