Posted on behalf of Arnold Law Firm on August 20, 2022 in Data Breach. Updated on October 18, 2022
NOTICE: This blog is for historical context only. The Arnold Law Firm is no longer accepting new clients for this data breach action.
In May 2020, Novant Health (“Novant”), a regional healthcare provider, launched a promotional campaign to connect with more patients through the Novant Health MyChart patient portal. The campaign involved Facebook advertisements and a Meta (Facebook parent company) tracking pixel placed on the Novant websites to help track the success of the ad campaign in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A pixel is a piece of code that measures activity and experiences on a website. However, that pixel was configured incorrectly, and it led to the unauthorized access/disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) from electronic medical records and personally identifiable information (“PII”) through the MyChart patient portal.
On June 17, 2022, Novant discovered PHI and PII were disclosed to Facebook through the pixel in the ad on the MyChart portal. Novant is in the process of mailing letters to those affected. These letters will confirm, through Novant’s MyChart, Novant sent to Facebook including, but not limited to, PHI and demographic information and other PII such as email addresses, phone numbers, computer IP addresses, emergency contact information entered into Emergency Contact or Advanced Care Planning, appointment type, date, and time, physician selected buttons selected on online menu, and content typed into free text boxes. If you received a letter your information was disclosed to Facebook. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (“HHS”), the “Breach Submission Date” was August 14, 2022.
Novant Health is a non-profit health organization headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with locations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. It has 15 hospitals, 674+ outpatient locations, 30+ imaging centers, and 605 physician clinics. It generates $5.4 billion per year in revenue, and it employs 29, 333 people.
In total, HHS reports the data of over 1,362, 296 individuals was compromised in this data breach. If you received a data breach incident letter from Novant you were impacted by the breach.
According to Novant the following information was exposed:
Some of this information is called your Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”), and some of it is called protected health information (“PHI”). PII and PHI tell others about you and your health care, and they are considered part of your identity. Businesses and medical providers are required to secure this information or risk facing statutory penalties, among other legal penalties. Stolen PII and PHI can be used by identity thieves to engage in fraudulent activity using your identity.
According to their website, Novant will provide credit monitoring to any individuals who may have provided Social Security numbers or other financial information through a free text box impacted by pixel in MyChart. The best way to protect yourself after a data breach is to sign up for credit and identity protection services as soon as possible. California offers extra protections and legal rights to its residents through the California Consumer Privacy Act.
NOTICE: If you received a NOTICE OF DATA BREACH letter from Novant Health, contact the Arnold Law Firm at (916) 777-7777 to discuss your legal options, or submit a confidential Case Evaluation form here.