Iowa DHS Informs Patients of Potential Data Breach | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Iowa DHS Informs Patients of Potential Data Breach

July 1, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Former patients at the Mental Health Institute in Independence, Ia., and hundreds of state employees there and at other state facilities are being informed about a possible breach of their confidential information.

Officials said the information was stored on a backup computer tape that cannot be located. A search for the tape continues and officials said it is likely the tape was inadvertently destroyed or discarded. Access to information on the tape requires specialized and outdated equipment.

The tape does not contain any bank or credit card information, but it does include Social Security numbers and addresses for about 700 employees of several facilities managed by the Iowa Department of Human Services, which administers the facility.

The tape also includes Social Security numbers and other information regarding about 7,300 former patients at the Independence facility. A few records date back to the late 1980s but most refer to more recent patients. The tape does not include records of patients who were admitted after June 2010.

“The chance that your information was improperly accessed is small, but we realize that you may want to take steps to be sure that your information is not used by another person,” Supt. Bhasker Dave said in a statement.

In letters mailed on June 26, the department explained what happened and offered to pay for one-year enrollment in a credit monitoring service for anyone who fears that the possible breach could lead to a stolen identity.

The computer system is no longer used for patient records or employee information. Dave explained that the historical data had not been purged from the computer system and continued to be backed up on a monthly basis.

Topics

News

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.