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Hospital Laptop Stolen; Info On 7,800 Patients At Risk

A laptop stolen from a secure office in a Texas hospital group is putting at risk identifying information on 7,800 patients without health insurance.

The Seton Family of Hospitals reported last week that a security camera captured video of the thief carrying out a laptop and a projector. The laptop contained identifying personal information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and insurance program numbers.

The Austin Police Department has been notified.

The data captured on the stolen computer contains information from a shared database that's used by Seton, as well as several other local health care providers, to determine if patients seeking medical attention who are uninsured may be eligible for other funding sources, according to a written release on the Seton Web site.

The stolen information was regarding patients who sought care as part of an outpatient or clinic visit since July 1, 2005, and did not have health insurance, Seton said, estimating that data on 7,800 patients may have been lost.

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