Burglars have stolen 10 computers with names and Social Security Numbers of 15,000 to 18,000 people from and HCA office in Nashville. The computers contain information on Medicare and Medicaid patients with uncollected bills, along with some DRG information. The patients whose information was stolen are based in Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington. According to the company's Web site, "The computers were stolen from a secured building, protected by keypad lock technology and video surveillance. All required a password for access… Authorities believe the computers were stolen by a gang that has committed numerous break-ins in the same area, looking for computers to be sold for their hardware and not the data." The company also added that it is stepping up a current project to encrypt data and boost Internet file transfer security.
PLUS: In West Virginia, a judge has issued a preliminary injunction to keep HCA from closing Putnam General Hospital. HCA had agreed to close the 68-bed hospital and sell it to Charleston Area Medical Center. A citizens group is suing to fight the closure and the judge ruled that HCA could not finish the deal until the suit is resolved. Report
ALSO: HCA-owned Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, based in Miami, has been unable to reach a contract agreement with insurer UnitedHealth. Patients using the hospital have been informed that their insurance won't be accepted if the two sides can't reach an agreement by August 29. Report