LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The personal information of approximately 168,500 patients of the Los Angeles County departments of Health Services and Public Health has been compromised following a computer equipment theft last month.

The Department of Auditor-Controller said Thursday the equipment was stolen February 5 from the Torrance office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, Inc., a firm that contracts with the county.

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The firm contacted authorities and the county immediately, according to the department.

An assessment of the data stolen revealed 168,500 DHS and DPH patients “may be impacted,” the department stated.

Officials said information stolen includes names, Social Security numbers, medical and billing information, and possibly addresses, dates of birth and diagnoses.

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Affected patients are being notified of the breach by mail and are being offered free credit monitoring and advice about how to best protect themselves from identity theft.

Sutherland is working with county officials to review its information privacy and security protocols.

A criminal investigation is ongoing.

Patients who believe they have been affected can contact Sutherland at (877) 868-9284.

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