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The medical records of nearly a million people have gone missing, a US health insurance company has admitted. Centene Corporation said it was conducting an internal search for six hard drives containing the information. Customers' names, addresses and dates of birth were included, as well as their social security numbers, membership details and health information, Centene said.
But no financial or payment details of customers were on the drives, it said. Centene said the hard drives contained the personal health information of about , people who had received laboratory services between and It said it would notify those affected and offer them free healthcare monitoring.
The company also said it would reinforce and review its procedures. The BBC asked whether the information on the hard drives was encrypted and how they were had been lost, but Centene did not respond. It is, therefore, highly likely that they will have to make a report to US regulatory authorities and will be fined for any data loss," Alison Rea, a lawyer at Kemp Little, told the BBC.
She said that, while Centene's "upfront" approach to the issue was commendable, it meant that some people may launch damages claims before the full extent of the data loss was known. However, if the data has been taken offsite and is now in the public domain, the damages claims Centene faces could be much higher," she said.
Other big incidents are the theft of desktop computers from Advocate Medical Group in Chicago, which affected more than 4 million individuals; and the theft of two unencrypted laptop computers from health insurer AvMed Health , affecting 1. Centene CEO Neidorff said the missing drives "were a part of a data project using laboratory results to improve the health outcomes of our members. Some privacy and security experts, however, contend that the need to always encrypt hard drives is not as clear cut as the need to encrypt, for example, data on laptops.
Organizations may determine that their physical controls over certain hard drives that never leave the data center or other secure areas are sufficient protection," she notes. This isn't always a black-and-white decision. However, data storage on end-user portable and mobile devices and media, such as USB flash drives, carries very high risk and should routinely be encrypted.
The intended use of hard drives and other storage media can also influence policies about encryption, says privacy attorney Adam Greene of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine.
Organizations can consider technical solutions, such as technical safeguards that do not allow transferring information to non-enterprise, unencrypted devices. But implementation of such technical solutions is expensive and time-consuming and will invariably cause widespread mutiny if not delicately managed.
The Centene incident shines a spotlight on the difficulties related to tracking IT inventory, says Tom Walsh, founder of security consulting firm tw-Security. Things are constantly changing. Maintaining an accurate inventory doesn't scale well for large organizations. Rather than putting a lot of effort into an accurate inventory, efforts are better spent encrypting media containing confidential information.
To improve the oversight of IT equipment and the appropriate level of security controls needed, "an inventory should identify high-risk devices where large amounts of PHI are stored or where the threat of theft and loss are greater than other devices," Walsh notes. Dan Berger, CEO of security consulting firm Redspin, notes: "PHI, by its very nature, finds its way onto many devices, is stored in many places and is accessed by many individuals.
As a result, healthcare organizations must be disciplined about tracking PHI throughout the organization and ensuring the appropriate safeguards are in place everywhere.
Encryption adds cost and complexity, but a PHI breach can be far more costly. She has about 30 years of IT journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues for more than 15 years. From heightened risks to increased regulations, senior leaders at all levels are pressured to improve their organizations' risk management capabilities.
But no one is showing them how - until now. Learn the fundamentals of developing a risk management program from the man who wrote the book on the topic: Ron Ross, computer scientist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In an exclusive presentation, Ross, lead author of NIST Special Publication - the bible of risk assessment and management - will share his unique insights on how to:.
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|Conduent location in orlando fl||It is possible that the hard drives will be found, although Centene has now taken the step of alerting its members to the potential exposure of their PHI out of an abundance of caution. The venerable drive-by download in Leverage a data lakehouse to drive incremental value and quick wins. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for cenhene, the order in which they appear. Comprehensive IAM helping boost patient access in Florida. Webinars More Webinars. She has about 30 years of IT journalism centene hard drive, with change healthcare 1 northway focus on healthcare information technology issues for more than 15 years.|
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|Cvs health otc list georgia||High out-of-pocket costs are affecting revenue cycles. By Andrea Fox. Course Library. Organizations may determine that valve cummins performance 12 physical controls over certain hard drives that never leave the data https://info.informaticknowledge.com/cummins-kta19/11684-semantic-nuances.php or other secure areas are sufficient protection," she notes. How data science and artificial intelligence are making inroads in South Korea. But implementation of such technical solutions is expensive and time-consuming and will invariably cause widespread mutiny if not delicately managed.|
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Preliminary financial results for the fiscal year, assuming a Feb. On Monday, Centene said it has lost six hard drives that were a part of a data project using laboratory results to improve the health outcomes of members, according to CEO Michael Neidorff. The St. Louis-based company, which offers managed Medicaid plans to uninsured or underinsured people, said it did not believe the information had been used inappropriately.
Centene said it had launched an internal search and had begun to notify members whose information is on the missing hard drives. The company said the hard drives contained personal health information, such as social security numbers, member IDs and financial or payment data, on people who received laboratory services between and It promised to offer free healthcare and credit monitoring to affected customers.
Skip to main content. Centene says employee error led to missing hard drives, company still searching for records. Company has launched an internal search and is notifying members whose information is on the missing hard drives. By Susan Morse January 27, Twitter: SusanJMorse. January 15, Help Texts launches text-based support for healthcare workers. By Andrea Fox. January 13, Sanford Health's CIO talks virtual care, workforce challenges, modern data ecosystem.
By Bill Siwicki. Want to get more stories like this one? Get daily news updates from Healthcare IT News. Top Story. Most Read Being cyber resilient in a rocky risk landscape. Business preparedness for ransomware.
The hard drives were being used for a project to improve the health outcomes of plan members. The individuals impacted by the security breach had all received laboratory services between and The data stored on the devices included names, addresses, dates of birth, member ID numbers, Social Security numbers, and laboratory test results.
An initial search was conducted after it was discovered that the devices were missing, although a more comprehensive search of Centene facilities in now being conducted. It is possible that the hard drives will be found, although Centene has now taken the step of alerting its members to the potential exposure of their PHI out of an abundance of caution. Also out of an abundance of caution, all , members have been offered a year of credit monitoring services without charge.
The loss of equipment has also prompted Centene to conduct a review of its IT equipment management policies. The loss or misplacement of the computer hard drives strongly suggests HIPAA rules have been violated. HIPAA requires all covered entities to ensure that all computer equipment used to store ePHI is secured by appropriate physical controls at all times to prevent loss or theft. Covered entities are also required to maintain an equipment inventory of all devices used to store, transmit, access or copy ePHI.
This includes computers, tablets, fax machines, photocopiers, digital printers, portable storage devices such as flash drives, as well as computer hard drives.