Are Your Medical Records Safe?


Did anyone else get this email?

To Our Members:

Safeguarding your personal, financial and medical information is one of our top priorities, and because of that, we have state-of-the-art information security systems to protect your data. However, despite our efforts, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack. These attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and have obtained personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that credit card or medical information (such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes) were targeted or compromised.

Once the attack was discovered, Anthem immediately made every effort to close the security vulnerability, contacted the FBI and began fully cooperating with their investigation. Anthem has also retained Mandiant, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, to evaluate our systems and identify solutions based on the evolving landscape.

Anthem’s own associates’ personal information – including my own – was accessed during this security breach. We join you in your concern and frustration, and I assure you that we are working around the clock to do everything we can to further secure your data.

Anthem will individually notify current and former members whose information has been accessed. We will provide credit monitoring and identity protection services free of charge so that those who have been affected can have peace of mind. We have created a dedicated website – – where members can access information such as frequent questions and answers. As we learn more, we will continually update this website and share that information with you. We have also established a dedicated toll-free number that both current and former members can call if they have questions related to this incident. That number is: 1-877-263-7995.

I want to personally apologize to each of you for what has happened, as I know you expect us to protect your information. We will continue to do everything in our power to make our systems and security processes better and more secure, and hope that we can earn back your trust and confidence in Anthem.

Joseph Swedish
President and CEO
Anthem, Inc.

I love how they brag about how state of the art their security systems are?  Dude, you can’t brag about something that didn’t work!

They say no personal medical information has been compromised but does anyone still wonder whether paper charts weren’t just a wee bit safer?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “Are Your Medical Records Safe?

  1. Madelyn sieraski
    February 9, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I hate having to carry my medicare card with me. Using someones social security number as a identifier for medicare is risky. If I don’t have my card no care. One day medicare may catch up with the risk of identity theft. I hope I live to see it.

  2. Steve O'
    February 8, 2015 at 11:54 am

    The name of the company, ANTHEM is perhaps an ironically unwitting nod to Ayn Rand- her first book on totalitarianism was called “ANTHEM.”

    That novel is brief and fairly readable, although coincidentally similar to a much better novel published in 1921 entitled “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

    Zamyatin’s work is a must-read story about dystopian tyranny, far more lyrically and expertly written than 1984, Brave New World or any of Ayn Rand’s writings. Orwell and Huxley admitted as such. Do read “We.”

  3. Steve O'
    February 8, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Somehow, we have completely rewound any respect for Privacy that Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, sketched out 50 years ago. Even if you don’t cotton to the verbiage of legal opinion, look to the opinion written by William O. Douglas, one of my personal American heroes.

    One of the notable aspects of Griswold is the citation by reference that physicians have the authority to assert the rights of their patients. “The concept of liberty protects those personal rights that are fundamental, and is not confined to the specific terms of the Bill of Rights…(the) Due Process Clause protects those liberties that are “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.”” [Goldberg & Brennan in concurrence] This conveys obviously to the right of privacy between patient and physician, and conveys by analogy to Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health {Massachusetts Sup. Ct.} to the rights to marriage.
    Even Black’s dissent on the conduct of doctors illustrates the contrarian finding that the instructions AND CONDUCT of doctors is subject to the privacy stricture. However, looking at how the issue of the privacy of medical records, one might think that Black had written the majority opinion, not Douglas.

    This states nothing that HIPAA doesn’t, other than the right to privacy being fundamental. Sadly, the effect will be inevitable – the retention of ALL medical records under some Federal clearinghouse – “FIMA for Federal Individual Medical Record” to which petitioners, insurance companies and doctors, may petition to read, and to which all will be under legal obligation to report.

    The FIMA, of course, will be full of such bloviating statements that the insurance company has issued – your records are under the greatest security, yadda yadda. However, there will be a wide-open back door of all your personal medical information into other branches of Government – for “National Security reasons,” no doubt.

    “Privacy” in the 21’st century is threatening to become an inverted absurdity worthy of Orwell – the privacy of having all your personal information on file and discovered by the Government.

  4. Linda
    February 8, 2015 at 10:46 am

    This data wasn’t even encrypted, so it can easily be read and used.

  5. William Braswell MD
    February 8, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I agree, paper charts have only one audit trail, either you have it or it is lost (burned).

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