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Highmark affiliate Premier Medical Associates reports data breach

Ben Schmitt
| Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, 2:24 p.m.

Monroeville-based Premier Medical Associates, owned by Highmark Health, Friday reported a data breach involving 900 patients and visitors to its website.

The incident did not involve electronic health records system or its patient portal, according to a news release.

Website visitors who submitted information through the “Contact us” portion of Premier Medical Associates' website may have been exposed to the breach.

“PMA's investigation also found that several public search engines, including Google and Bing, crawled PMA's website as part of their routine activities and retrieved the visitors' submissions,” a news release said.

Premier said it first learned of the possible breach Aug. 9, and it may date to July 24.

“At Premier Medical Associates, we strive to place the highest priority on the privacy of our patients and all individuals who engage with us via our public website,” Mark DeRubeis, CEO of Premier Medical Associates, said in a statement. “We sincerely regret and apologize for any concern or inconvenience this matter may cause those individuals who are affected, and we would like to reassure everyone that all appropriate corrective actions have been taken to secure our website and strengthen our oversight protocols to prevent it from happening again.”

He said the breach involved many people who were not patients.

Highmark acquired Premier Medical Associates in 2012. Premier employs 100 doctors throughout the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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