Month: July 2018
Photo by Richard Hurd
UnityPoint Health Notifies Patients of Security Incident
Amy Varcoe, Media Relations
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNITYPOINT HEALTH NOTIFIES PATIENTS OF SECURITY INCIDENT
(WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – July 30, 2018) UnityPoint Health announced today that it has notified approximately 1.4 million patients of a recent email phishing incident that may have compromised certain patient protected health or personal information.
“We take our responsibility to protect patient information very seriously and deeply regret this incident occurred,” said RaeAnnIsaacson, PrivacyOfficer, UnityPointHealth. “While we are not aware of any misuse of patient information related to this incident, we are notifying patients about what happened, what information was involved, what we have done to address the situation, and what patients can do to help protect their information.”
On May 31, 2018, UnityPoint Health discovered that a phishing email attack had compromised its business email system andmay have resultedinunauthorizedaccesstoprotectedhealthinformation and other personal information for some patients. Upon learning of this attack, UnityPoint Health informed law enforcement agencies and launched an investigation with an expert computer forensics firm to determine the size and scope of the attack, as well as the number of people potentially impacted.
The forensics investigation revealed that UnityPoint Health received a series of fraudulent emails known as “phishing” that were disguised to appear to have come from a trusted executive within the organization. The phishing emails tricked some employees into providing their confidential sign-in information which gave attackers access to their internal email accounts between March 14, 2018 and April 3, 2018. Some of the compromised accounts included emails or attachments to emails, such as standard reports related to healthcare operations, containing protected health information and/or personal information for certain patients.
Patient information that may have been in compromised email accounts included patient names and one or more of the following: addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, medical information, treatment information, surgical information, diagnoses, lab results, medications, providers, dates of service and/or insurance information. For some individuals, information may have included a Social Security number and/or driver’s license number. For a limited number of individuals, information may also have included payment card or bank account numbers. While unauthorized access to patient information may have occurred, no known or attempted misuse of patient information has been reported as a result of this incident at this time.
UnityPoint Health will offer free credit monitoring services for one year to individuals whose Social Security number and/or driver’s license number were included in the compromised email accounts. UnityPoint encourages impacted individuals to remain vigilant in reviewing account statements for fraudulent or irregular activity on a regular basis, including a review of any “explanation of benefits statements”. Individuals should follow up with the applicable insurance company or care provider for any items that are not recognized.
Electronic medical record and patient billing systems were not impacted by this attack. The only unauthorized access to patient information may have occurred through compromised email accounts, where the information was contained in the body of an email or in attachments such as reports. It is common and appropriate for patient information to be shared through business email between employees authorized to use it as part of their work to support patient care. Business reports are created for a variety of purposes, including to track payments from patients’ primary insurance carriers or to contact patients regarding follow-up appointments.
According to computer forensic experts and law enforcement, these types of phishing email attacks are usually financially motivated. The phishing attack on UnityPoint Health was more likely focused on diverting business funds like payroll or vendor payments, rather than on obtaining patient information.
In April, UnityPoint Health notified approximately 16,400 patients of a separate phishing email attack. Law enforcement agencies report dramatic increases in attacks on business email systems. Often carried out by international criminal organizations, these highly sophisticated attacks utilize complex schemes that are constantly evolving.
UnityPoint Health has taken a number of important steps intended to protect its systems and prevent similar situations from happening in the future. Specific actions include:
Resetting passwords for all compromised accounts to prevent further unauthorized access;
Conducting mandatory education for employees to help them recognize and avoid phishing emails;
Adding technology to identify suspicious external emails; and
Implementing multi-factor authentication which requires users to go through multiple steps to verify their identity in order to access systems.
“We continue to work closely with leading experts to learn from our experience and help our organization – and other health care organizations – prevent these kinds of cybercrimes,” said Isaacson.
UnityPoint Health mailed notification letters via U.S. Mail on July 30, 2018, to individuals impacted by this incident (where last known home address was available). UnityPoint Health has also notified the news media and posted notices on the homepages of the health system website and all affiliate websites.
For patients who have questions or concerns regarding this incident, or to determine if they are impacted by this incident, UnityPoint Health has established a dedicatedandconfidentialtoll-freehelplineat1-888-266-9285.The helplineisstaffedbyprofessionalsfamiliarwiththisincidentandknowledgeable aboutwhatpatientscandotoprotectagainstmisuseoftheirinformation.ThehelplineisavailableMondaythrough Friday,8:00a.m.to 8:00 p.m. Central Time. In addition, UnityPoint Health has established a dedicated website (www.unitypoint.org/security-notice) where patients can access information regarding the incident, including frequently asked questions and tips for protecting their information.
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About UnityPoint Health
UnityPoint Health is the nation’s 13th largest nonprofit health system and the fourth largest nondenominational health system in America, providing care throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
Photo by Richard Hurd
National architecture-engineering firm opens third Florida office
NOTE: Mead & Hunt’s headquarters are in Middleton, Wisconsin. The firm is the 4th largest in Wisconsin according to ENR magazine. Balchon, Knuckey and Schmidgall are all new hires.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2018
National architecture-engineering firm opens third Florida office
Mead & Hunt, a national architecture-engineering consulting firm, is opening its third Florida office in Tampa.
The new Tampa office will be the home office for Ed Balchon, who brings more than 25 years of Florida water-wastewater engineering experience to Mead & Hunt. He is joined in Tampa by Todd Knuckey and Dave Schmidgall who will lead the Florida aviation team.
“There are significant and challenging projects in the Tampa Bay and west-central Florida region that are well-aligned with the capabilities of the firm. Opening a Tampa office is another step toward expanding service to Florida clients and offers rewarding consulting opportunities for our employees,” said Balchon, Market Leader for Mead & Hunt’s water practice.
Balchon joined with the purpose of expanding Mead & Hunt’s presence in the region. He will be active in adding staff to address client needs. Further growth is anticipated in the Tampa, Tallahassee and Daytona Beach area offices soon. Pulling from both local and national resources, the Florida team will provide the full range of Mead & Hunt services.
Mead & Hunt established a water-wastewater office in Port Orange in August 2017. In April 2018, the firm established a highway and bridge office in Tallahassee. The Tampa office will initially focus on water-wastewater, infrastructure and aviation services. All three offices are anticipated to add more service lines soon. Mead & Hunt provides clients with expert planning, architecture, engineering, environmental and construction administration services throughout the nation.
“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to establish another Florida office, and Tampa was my first choice,” said Ron Engel, Vice President and Group Leader of Mead & Hunt Aviation Services. “With a skilled and available workforce and great business community – Tampa was where we needed to be.”
Balchon added to this sentiment, sharing that Mead & Hunt was pursuing opportunities to showcase the firm’s long history of creating innovative engineering solutions with landmark projects.
“We have the depth of senior, skilled personnel with local, Florida experience to address this environmentally-sensitive region,” said Balchon. “The infrastructure needs in Florida are growing rapidly and so is Mead & Hunt, especially in the water-wastewater market.”
The employee-owned consulting firm remains strong on ENR‘s Top 500 design firm list with a national ranking of 139th in 2018. Mead & Hunt was named by CE News as one of the top 10 engineering companies to work for in the nation. The firm employs about 700 employees from 30+ offices located across the nation.
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Ron Engel, Vice President and Aviation Services Group Leader firstname.lastname@example.org 517-908-3107
Ed Balchon, Florida Water Market Leader email@example.com 813-390-8446
Kary Beck, Corporate Communications firstname.lastname@example.org 608-443-0370
Photo by Richard Hurd
Prestigious London-Based Chocolate Competition Names Wisconsin’s CocoVaa Chocolatier as an International Rising Star
Syovata Edari Collects 17 Academy Awards in London and is Named an International Rising Star by the Prestigious Academy of Chocolate Awards
CocoVaa Chocolatier picked up its 17 academy awards in London, England on Wednesday at the Academy of Chocolate Awards’ annual awards ceremony. The Academy also announced owner and chocolatier Syovata Edari as an International Rising Star, which came as a surprise to Edari who is fairly new to the industry. She is the only US national to hold this title in 2018. This year the Academy had a record-breaking 1,200 entries from 45 countries. The highly competitive juried competition took place over ten weeks in a rigorous process where each chocolate is subjected to blind tasting by multiple panels of international experts in the fine chocolate industry.
According to a coordinator of judges, even placing silver is extremely difficult due to the complex rubric used to assess the hundreds of chocolates submitted from around the world.
Edari entered seventeen items in the hopes of winning at least one or two awards. “I would have been pleased to win even one bronze because I knew I was competing with some of the world’s best” states Edari who won awards for every submission including two gold, eight silver and seven bronze. “Sharing the stage with some of the world’s best makers and designers of fine chocolate, winning so many awards and being named an International Rising Star is the greatest honor and a dream come true.“ Edari’s wins from the London based competition come the same year she was named one of America’s Top Chocolatiers and awarded the highest ranking Grand Master title by the International Chocolate Salon based in the U.S.
Edari uses premium ingredients, makes everything in “micro-batches,” and is conscientious with regard to the sources of her chocolate. “When you operate ethically and with attention to quality, your margins are lower, but as consumer’s become more educated with regard to taste as well as sourcing, smaller artisans like us will be at the forefront of the food revolution and industrial chocolate will ultimately lose its appeal all together.” says Edari, who took her children with her to London to receive their awards. “I wanted my kids to see and to enjoy the benefits of our collective hard work and perseverance.” Edari’s children Emayu, age 18, and Solomon, age 10, have been actively involved in the business operations and inspire many of Edari’s flavor and design concepts. “My kids took the stage with me. They deserve this as much as I do.”
CocoVaa Chocolatier has become known for its unique and whimsical flavor combinations such as coconut Lemongrass which won a silver award and hazelnut macchiato which won a gold award. Edari is scaling up and is building a larger production and retail space at The Marling at 1815 East Washington Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin which should be open fall of 2018 with expanded hours. “We are growing quickly but carefully so we don’t lose quality or lose sight of our mission.”
CocoVaa Chocolatier media team
Photo by Richard Hurd
Reebok CrossFit Games Will Host CrossFit Athlete-Led Workouts at Memorial Union
MADISON – Reebok CrossFit Games will host free workouts, including boot camp-style workouts and yoga, at the Wisconsin Union’s Memorial Union in July and August.
Together with Capital Fitness, Reebok will host its boot camp-style workout Aug. 2, 9, 16 and 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the Festival Room. CrossFit athletes will lead each workout.
Also, on July 28, Reebok CrossFit Games will host yoga on the Memorial Union Terrace beginning at 9:00 a.m.
These workouts are open to all skill levels and open to the public. They are part of a current partnership with Reebok CrossFit Games, which will take place at the Alliant Energy Center Aug. 1 – 5.
“We are looking forward to this special event,” Wisconsin Union Deputy Director Susan Dibbell said. “It’s a great opportunity to work out with CrossFit athletes.”
The CrossFit Games sponsorship also includes a pop-up store on the Memorial Union Terrace through Sept. 2. At the store, guests can purchase CrossFit apparel and learn more about the upcoming Games in Madison.
Proceeds from this sponsorship help support the Wisconsin Union team’s ability to provide the community with thousands of student-led events and countless student leadership opportunities each year.
“We appreciate the support of sponsors, students, Wisconsin Union members and visitors in helping us create learning and leadership opportunities and fun events,” Dibbell said.
The CrossFit Games will also host “Custom Classics” each Friday night July 27 – Aug. 31 at the Memorial Union Terrace. At “Custom Classics”, guests will have the opportunity to purchase Reebok Classic shoes and customize them with help from a local artist.
To register or learn more about a specific class, go to: www.eventbrite.com/o/reebok-terrace-madison-17592997921.
About the Wisconsin Union
The Wisconsin Union enhances the lives of members and visitors through recreational, cultural, educational and social opportunities. Formed in 1907, the Wisconsin Union is a membership organization that blends study and leisure to create unique out-of-classroom opportunities. Learn more about the Union and its tradition of providing experiences for a lifetime: union.wisc.edu.
Contact Information: Shauna Breneman, Communications Director, (608) 262-8862, email@example.com
Photo by Richard Hurd
NGL announces key findings from partners during customer service survey
Majority of partners surveyed would recommend NGL over the competition
Madison, Wis. (July 26, 2018) – National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL) announced its findings from its recent partner satisfaction survey. The phone survey conducted by a third party organization polled 390 partners from NGL’s business units, including Individual Life & Annuities, Preneed and Funeral Homes. Overall, NGL was rated 9.3 out of 10 with a very high likelihood that partners would recommend NGL’s services to others.
The partners, who ranged in tenure with NGL and production volume, were asked a series of questions ranging from customer service, technology, new business, commissions, contracting and claims. Key findings indicate partners are extremely satisfied with NGL’s customer service, ease of new business process and the contracting and commission process.
“NGL’s strong commitment to excellent customer service continues to be a differentiator in the insurance industry. Our partners ranked attitude of NGL’s customer service team at 96 percent and that’s something we are proud of,” said Stephanie Ek, NGL vice president of administration services.
“Although our partners are always able to provide feedback, every couple of years we like to anonymously survey them to learn what NGL is doing well and what areas we could improve,” said Jill Muenich, NGL vice president of marketing services. “It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about the tools our partners would like in order to perform their jobs better. One item that was brought up in the survey is the ability for partners to receive text messages. That’s actually one of the projects we were already working on so the responses we received help to validate current projects and direct upcoming needs.”
Since 1910, National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL), a mutual insurance company, has been located in Madison, Wis. Licensed to do business in 49 states and the District of Columbia, NGL markets preneed and individual life and annuities, as well as group markets products including specialty and student insurance. Information about NGL can be found at www.nglic.com; Facebook: Facebook.com/NGLIC and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/national-guardian-life-insurance-company
National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not affiliated with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America a/k/a The Guardian or Guardian Life.
Contact: Maria Lubick, (608) 443-5284, firstname.lastname@example.org
Online newsroom: nglic.com/newsroom