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Washington DSHS Reports Data Breach Affecting 652 Patients

April 4, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has reported that it suffered a 652-patient data breach on Feb. 4 when private psychologist contractor’s laptop was stolen in Gig Harbor, Wash.

The computer belonging to Dr. Sunil Kakar was recovered in a pawn shop by Gig Harbor Police on Feb. 14. Security measures, including password protection, were in place. There is no evidence that the files were accessed by unauthorized people or used for identity theft.

"We are unable to determine whether the data was accessed or further copied or disclosed. While there is no information to show that the stolen data has been accessed or used for identity theft, I am erring on the side of caution and notifying every person who might be affected," said Kakar in letters to the 652 clients. "I am extremely sorry for this situation and understand it may cause concern, embarrassment and inconvenience. I try very hard to earn your trust, and that includes protecting sensitive information about you. I take client confidentiality very seriously."

All 652 clients have been notified of the potential breach of their confidential information and steps they can take to protect themselves from identity theft in the event that information had been compromised.

The clients whose information was included on the laptop were receiving services from the Department’s Economic Services Administration.

Depending on the services rendered, the client information could include client names; identification numbers; psychological evaluations, including notes and reports with diagnoses; dates of birth, the last four digits of Social Security numbers; dates of services; and addresses.

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