Healthcare Cyberattack


Oboy! I am really pissed. (I hate that word and never use it, but right now, it describes my emotions/attitude/condition perfectly.)

In the mail today, I received real, live letters. But before you get excited for me, let me explain. One letter, addressed to my mother, was from Excellus Blue Cross/Shield, and explained how their files had been cyberattacked and her information may have been “accessed” by the attackers.

My mother died at age 97 in 2002. And they still have her information in active files? (Joe said they could archive her records now—more than ten years. See below.) When I called the number “where you can get more information and/or ask any questions you might have,” the woman stated that there was no way anyone could use my mother’s information if she was “gone.”

Excuse me! How many times have we read/heard in the news that identity thieves check obituaries all the time so they can use the Social Security numbers of the deceased to get credit cards, passports, and Lord knows what other nasties they come up with.

So, Customer Service gave me absolutely no help with that question.

On to my next letter. This one, from Lifetime Healthcare Companies, was addressed to me and both letters were signed by Christopher Booth, President and CEO. I read through the letter, discovering that, not only were they cyberattacked on August 5, 2015, but the initial attack was on December 23, 2013. I can only imagine all the fun those criminal geeks were able to generate since 2013—and nary a soul in the Healthcare Companies figured out what was going on.

Back to this letter from Christopher Booth (does anyone have one of those lists of CEOs and their annual salaries?—just curious.) Each paragraph had a bold-face type header. What happened? What are we doing to protect you?… Where can you get more information?

Bottom line is Lifetime Healthcare Companies is tightening their cyber security. (Better late than never, I suppose.) Period!! Beyond that, we (the victims) can call several different places for “more information,” none of which is Lifetime Healthcare Companies. Their gratuitous solution for us is to enroll in Kroll’s identity theft protection services for two years—free.

So, I went to the given website and began to sign up for this service. At the end of—yes—giving my information out again, I read the “Agreement” before securing the service. Good thing! Turns out that they will alert you if they find this or that, but they are not responsible for anything bad that does happen. Also, they automatically renew the service without any notification to you and you have no recourse for a refund should you forget to notice the end date of your service. (Read on…)

It is obvious to me that Kroll provides no real service that we can’t do for ourselves: check our bank statements, our credit reports, our credit card statements, etc. etc. These things, Kroll advises us to do anyway.

The thing that really, really, gets me is that over a week ago, I needed a new prescription filled for my blood pressure. We (doctor and I) had tried several drugs to keep it under control, and found this one to be successful. My doctor had been giving me samples from her office, but the samples are no longer forthcoming. Hence, the prescription.

BUT, Excellus told Wegmans that it cannot fill the script until forms are filled out and sent in to it explaining why I needed that drug, if we’d tried others, etc etc.. After two weeks, we still do not have approval and, if/when we do get it, I’m willing to bet the co-pay will be close to or maybe more than $100. (My doctor was able to get samples of part of the drug—I have to cut it in half—and a script for the other part.)

So, what are we to do? I refuse to be duped, especially after being victimized. I called the number given in the letters for answers to our questions, which was useless. The woman didn’t know the possibilities out there regarding misuse of my mother’s information and tried to assure me that nothing would happen. And she had no capability of letting the CEO or other officers about the objections callers might have.

Not to be deterred, I got the telephone book out. (Remember what that is? The website for Lifetime Healthcare did not have a phone number for it listed.) Lifetime Healthcare Companies’ corporate office is located on 165 Court Street, Rochester 14647. The phone number is (585) 454-1700. Press 0 to speak to a person. (I asked for Christopher Booth, CEO, but of course, he “wasn’t in his office.”) But I was persistent and did get to speak with an Alisa. She said I’d hear from someone who could help me within five days. (Surprise. They’re inundated with phone calls.)

Very shortly thereafter, I received a call from “Joe.” (By this time, I’m on my fourth glass of Diet Pepsi, which I haven’t succumbed to in years!) And I have to say, Joe saved the day. He said Kroll will indeed notify us immediately of infiltrators and will not automatically renew the service without letting us know. And then, we actually get four years of the service for free. (I know that’s what he said, but I don’t know if that’s just for me, because I’m such a b—-, or all of us.) He is also getting me some help on the blood pressure medicine, whose co-pay is indeed $95.

I gave him the rest of the day off.

I’m switching to water now.

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