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Analysis

Walgreens Reports Data Breach Affecting 72K Individuals

By Revenue Cycle Advisor  
   August 11, 2020

A Walgreens spokesperson said that approximately 180 of the company’s stores across the country were affected by the potential data breach.

A version of this article was first published August 11, 2020, by HCPro's Revenue Cycle Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

Walgreen Co., the second largest pharmacy chain in the United States, recently reported a breach that may have involved the protected health information (PHI) of more than 72,000 individuals, according to data in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) breach portal.

In a letter to affected individuals dated July 24, Walgreens said the data was compromised sometime between May 26 and June 5 as various individuals broke into multiple Walgreens stores and stole items containing health-related information, such as filled prescriptions waiting for customer pickup and paper records.

A Walgreens spokesperson told the Philadelphia Inquirer that approximately 180 of the company’s stores across the country were affected by the potential data breach.

The following data elements may have been affected during the breach:

  • Address
  • Balance Rewards number
  • Clinical information such as medication name, strength, quantity, and description
  • Date of birth and/or age
  • Email address 
  • First and last name
  • Health plan name and group number
  • Phone number
  • Photo ID number - Driver’s license, state ID, military ID, or passport (e.g., for purchases such as pseudoephedrine)
  • Prescription number
  • Prescriber name
  • Vaccination information, including eligibility information

In the letter to the affected individuals, Walgreens said it took steps to close out and re-enter impacted prescriptions in its system to prevent potential fraud regarding the original prescriptions.

Walgreens also informed individuals that insurance claims were reversed for any stolen filled prescriptions that had already been billed to health plans.

Finally, Walgreens stated that it will continue to evaluate its safeguards. The company contacted local law enforcement when appropriate.

Revenue Cycle Advisor combines all of HCPro's Medicare regulatory and reimbursement resources into one handy and easy-to-access portal. News is not just repeated from other sources. It is analyzed by our Medicare experts so professionals can comprehend any new rule and regulatory updates thoroughly. Learn more.

Photo credit: RUSSIA, KAZAN MAY 1, 2019: Walgreen Company logo seen displayed on smart phone / Editorial credit: Allmy / Shutterstock.com


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