Nearly 12 million patients may be impacted by Quest Diagnostics data breach

Local News

A breach revealed by a company called Quest Diagnostics may have exposed personal data for nearly 12 million patients. Quest Diagnostics is a popular laboratory for blood test results. This may have included patients in Erie. Quest operates in Erie as Associated Clinical Laboratories or ACL. According to the officials at Quest, American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) told them that an unauthorized user had access to AMCA’s system which had personal information. 

Christopher Mansour is the Assistant Professor of cyber security at Mercyhurst University. “That information is highly valuable for hackers because they can sell it immediately on the dark web,” said Mansour. Exposed personal information includes financial data, social security numbers, and medical information. The unauthorized user received this personal information from various entities including Quest. The company said that laboratory test results were not exposed. We reached out to ACL who told us they can’t comment at this time. Quest Diagnostics has given the following statement below:

“American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), a billing collections service provider, has informed Quest Diagnostics that an unauthorized user had access to AMCA’s system containing personal information AMCA received from various entities, including from Quest. AMCA provides billing collections services to Optum360, which in turn is a Quest contractor. Quest and Optum360 are working with forensic experts to investigate the matter.

AMCA first notified Quest and Optum360 on May 14, 2019 of potential unauthorized activity on AMCA’s web payment page. On May 31, 2019, AMCA notified Quest and Optum360 that the data on AMCA’s affected system included information regarding approximately 11.9 million Quest patients. AMCA believes this information includes personal information, including certain financial data, Social Security numbers, and medical information, but not laboratory test results.

AMCA has not yet provided Quest or Optum360 detailed or complete information about the AMCA data security incident, including which information of which individuals may have been affected.  And Quest has not been able to verify the accuracy of the information received from AMCA.

Quest is taking this matter very seriously and is committed to the privacy and security of our patients’ personal information. Since learning of the AMCA data security incident, we have suspended sending collection requests to AMCA.

Quest will be working with Optum360 to ensure that Quest patients are appropriately notified consistent with the law. We are committed to keeping our patients, health care providers, and all relevant parties informed as we learn more.”

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