Home Breaking News HMH monitoring effects of data breach, letters mailed

HMH monitoring effects of data breach, letters mailed

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By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

Howard Memorial Hospital continues to deal with a cyber security event which occurred in December 2022. 

CEO Debra Wright told the board of directors Jan. 24 that notification letters for those who were affected have been approved and are being mailed.

“The letter of notification will outline how to apply for the credit monitoring being offered free of charge to everyone who receives a letter. [It] will also include recommendations on how each individual may monitor credit and the contact information for the three credit reporting bureaus listed as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion,” according to Wright. 

Contact information for the Federal Trade Commission is included, explaining how to file a complaint for the misuse of personal identity information if someone suspects that he or she is a victim of identity theft, Wright said. 

HMH posted notice on its website and social media on Dec. 29, 2022, that personal identifying information (PII) and personal health information (PHI) had been accessed by an unauthorized third-party and that the incident was under investigation. 

The breach affected both patient and employee personal information.

In other reports, Wright said the hospital hosted a demonstration of the Intuitive daVinci Robotics unit the week of Jan. 16. 

Staff, providers, students from area schools, community members and the Nashville Rotary Club were invited.

Wright said the Intuitive representative “was impressed with the turnout from schools and the community.” 

The hospital is “so excited to add robotics technology to our surgery program, which will enable our surgery team to offer minimally invasive surgery” including hernia repair, colon resection, gall bladder removal and appendectomy.

Wright said the students were asked to participate in a contest to name the robotics system.

Wright told the board that a report commissioned by the Arkansas Hospital Association showed that the shortage of health care workers in many specialties “is anticipated to continue or worsen over time, as increasing needs continue to exceed the supply of professionals. 

“The current shortfall of 9,000 registered nurses in Arkansas will not be resolved by 2035 without intervention.”

Other shortages are expected, including physician assistants, phlebotomists, clinical laboratory technicians and emergency medical technicians, Wright said.

HMH is willing to support a student or students to complete respiratory training “in exchange for a work commitment period to address the current shortage of respiratory therapists which has made recruitment very difficult. Anyone who is interested should contact the HR department,” Wright said.

In the financial report for De-

cember, CFO Bill Craig said the hospital had a net loss of $11,492 for the month. 

HMH had 28.5 days in accounts receivable; the target was less than 45 days.

The hospital had 123.5 days cash on hand, compared to the target of more than 145 days.

Collectible revenue is about $7,800 above budget. Receipts in accounts receivable, excluding clinics, totaled about $2 million as of Dec. 31, Craig said.

The Emergency Department had 974 visits for the month, 124 above budget.

Board members appointed Dr. John Johnson to the medical staff. They reappointed Dr. Clay Ferguson, Dr. R. Timothy Webb and OT Jane Watts.

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