- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2019

Senators sought answers Friday from a collection agency blamed with a recently disclosed data breach affecting millions of patients of some the country’s largest clinical labs.

Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, New Jersey Democrats, wrote the head of the American Medical Collection Agency in light of details emerging this week about a months-long data breach that compromised the personal information of approximately 12 million patients of Quest Diagnostics, a Seacucus-based blood testing provider that disclosed the incident in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing entered Monday.

Quest rivals LabCorp and Opko Health have subsequently reported being affected by the same breach, bringing the total number of impacted patients to upwards of 20 million.

“Such breaches make private, personal and financial information vulnerable to criminals, leading to potential identity theft and irreparable harm to their credit reports and financial futures,” the senators wrote AMCA President Russell Fuchs. “The potential exposure of a patient’s private medical records presents additional challenges in which such information could be used against patients in a discriminatory manner.”

“We must ensure that entities with access to patients’ personal, medical and financial information understand their heightened duty to protect both the patient and their sensitive information, and that your company is taking both immediate and long-term steps to mitigate any harm,” they added.

The letter contains several questions about AMCA’s security practices and requests a response by June 14.

AMCA is investigating the incident, has notified law enforcement and is providing 24 months of free credit monitoring to affected patients, the collection agency said when reached for comment.

“We remain committed to our system’s security, data privacy and the protection of personal information,” AMCA said in a statement.

Mr. Booker and Mr. Menendez sent a similar letter Wednesday to Stephen Rusckowski, Quest’s chairman and president, as did Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus.

“While I am heartened to learn that no evidence currently suggests Quest Diagnostic’s systems were breached, I am concerned about your supply chain management and your third-party selection and monitoring process,” Mr. Warner wrote.

Quest, LabCorp and Opko each said this week that have stopped sending bill requests to AMCA.

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