Thursday, November 12, 2009

HIPAA Vendor Compromised Healthcare Records

This is story that is several months old, but as I came across it, i thought it would make a good point. A vendor handling healthcare records has lost social security numbers of people in March of 2009. In this case, Health insurer Aetna, Inc., is reportedly providing 65,000 individuals with free credit monitoring for a year after its job application Web site was breached, the Associated Press has reported.

The Web site, which was maintained by an outside vendor, had Social security numbers of current and past employees and individuals who received job offers from the insurer, the AP reported.

The site reportedly held e-mail addresses for about 450,000 individuals who had applied for jobs or submitted resumes to the company and were waiting to be notified about job openings. Spokeswoman Cynthia Michener said Aetna doesn't know how many were copied, but the site has been disabled and is undergoing a "thorough forensic review" or you can say network security audit by an outside company.

So here we have a health insurer compromising personal data. People already recieve so much spam email that their real email is suspect. If your provider Aeata seems to be sending ligitimate emails to you, that can get confusing.

As noted in the article "This is not the first time the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer has had to provide free credit monitoring services. In April 2006, Aetna notified approximately 38,000 members that an employee's laptop computer containing certain personal member information was stolen from a car in a public parking lot."

If a compromise occurs once, you would think that a lot of new HIPAA data security protections would be put in place. But as we see in almost all industries, its very hard for a company to learn from its mistakes. Maybe there will not be a third time after this second breach.

Gary Bahadur
Managed Security Services
Managed Firewall
Managed Vulnerability Scanning

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