WA: 91,000 Medicaid patients’ data breached - KPTV - FOX 12

WA: 91,000 Medicaid patients’ data breached

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The Washington Health Care Authority announced a data breach Tuesday involving the personal identification information of more than 91,000 patients enrolled in the Apple Health Medicaid plan.

Patient information involved in the breach include Social Security numbers, birthdates, client ID numbers and private health information.

“Our first and foremost priority is protecting our clients’ personal information,” HCA Risk Manager Steve Dotson said. “We have taken swift action to address this issue and help prevent future incidents. I know this is stressful and concerning for those impacted, and we are doing everything possible to support them.”

According to a release issued by the HCA, two state workers from two agencies exchanged files of Apple Heath patients, violating HIPPA laws. The two employees claim the information was only shared as one staffer was trying to help the other with a technical problem, and that the patient information was not used in any unauthorized way.

The breach was discovered during an investigation into allegations of misuse of state resources.

The state has terminated the employment of both workers involved.

“While we have no indication that the client files went beyond the two individuals involved, important privacy laws were violated and we are exercising caution and due diligence given the nature of the information,” Dotson said.

Since the discovery of the breach, the HCA has taken a number of steps to increase security, including internal system investigations and creating a new web site for patients affected by the breach where they can sign up for a free year of credit monitoring.

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