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» Avamere hit with cyberattack lawsuit

Attorneys representing residents and employees of Avamere Holdings have filed a class action suit accusing the long-term care provider of failing to protect its residents and staff from a massive cyberattack. The lawsuit stems from a data breach believed to have affected more than 380,000 people across the company’s 96 healthcare sites.

An unauthorized individual gained access to a third-party-hosted network between Jan. 19 and March 17, according to the HIPAA Journal.

An August court filing faults “Avamere’s failure to protect its computer systems from unauthorized access by cybercriminals” despite numerous industry warnings and earlier breaches. It also alleges Avamere waited more than two months to notify people of the breach, which included theft of names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers, lab results and information about conditions and medications, according to the company.

A representative for the Oregon-based provider said it was simply being careful when it notified potentially affected individuals. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, Avamere Health Services recently notified certain individuals whose information was included in a security incident involving unauthorized access to a third-party hosted network utilized by Avamere,” Kevin Hill, general counsel for Avamere, told McKnight’s. “We remain committed to protecting the privacy and security of personal information.”

» Culture change efforts survive if established before COVID: survey

A survey of long-term care administrators has concluded that facilities that had well-established “culture change” efforts in place before 2020 more successfully weathered pandemic effects.

The survey found about 60% of facilities operating under the principles of culture change before the pandemic have maintained or expanded their efforts to focus on resident quality of life and person-centered care. The survey, conducted by the nonprofit entity Altarum, recently was featured in a special report, “The Sustainability of Person-Centered Care During a Pandemic.”

It included 62 long-term care facilities in 30 states, including ones affiliated with the Green House Project, the Pioneer Network, the Eden Alternative and the Live Oak Project.