2,100 Old-timers Had Their PHI Revealed in April

Every month the Division of Veteran Matters issues a statement to Congress on the info safety cases experienced by Veteran Affairs (VA) services during the month. Protected health information (PHI) disclosures increased substantially in April, with 2,105 old-timers’ PHI being unintentionally exposed or disclosed.

In total, 2556 old-timers were affected by information safety cases in April, leading to the VA dispatching 1,690 breach notice letters. Because of the comparatively high risk of abuse of data, 866 old-timers were presented credit protection facilities.

Although the quantity of old-timers affected by these safety cases was substantially higher compared to in March – when 522 old-timers were affected by information safety cases and 417 had their PHI revealed – fewer cases were informed by VA services.

In April there were 39 stolen and lost device cases compared to 54 in March, lost PIV cards dropped from 172 to 128, mismanaging cases declined from 89 to 87, and also146 mis-mailed cases were reported compared to 147 cases last month.

Main VA Data Breaks Informed in April

The biggest secrecy break affected a VA service was in Hines, IL (VISN 12) and led to the disclosure of 235 veterans’ PHI when a bundle was misplaced in transportation. The bundle had particulars of veterans’ home-oxygen info which was dispatched on March 25, 2016 from the Madison Veteran Affairs.  The bundle was dispatched through the USPS, however, was found not to have reached on April 5. A hunt was carried out to find out if the bundle had been collected by another division, however, it couldn’t be traced. All 235 old-timers affected by the possible secrecy break have been alerted by mail.

In Fort Harrison, MT., the Veteran Benefits Association informed an information safety case that affected 162 people. The secrecy break happened when an agent of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) dispatched a file having veterans’ names and Social Security numbers operating an unencrypted yahoo.com email account. The email was usual; however, the rep inadvertently dispatched a wrong file. The VA informs that the person who got the email has consented to erase the attachment, even though as a safety measure, the VA has offered all affected people credit monitoring facilities.

Bay Pines, FL (VISN 08) informed the inadvertent revelation of veterans’ names following a contact list having the names of 103 old-timers was located by a lawn maintenance employee. The list pertained to Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD VASH) and the worker who misplaced the list has been punished. Workers at VISN 08 have been trained additionally.

A VA worker of Las Vegas, NV (VISN 22) was found to have taken out documents on Torts, billing, as well as claims not approved. The files had been put in an envelope rather than a closed red document sack – as was compulsory under VA rules.

The files were put on the roof of the worker’s automobile while that person entered. Nevertheless, that individual after that drove off placing the files on the rooftop of the car. The filets were located by a person walking by and were given in to the VA. The person accountable for the break wasn’t identified. The files had the names, dates of birth, addresses, as well as genders of 84 old-timers. 28 old-timers had their names and claim numbers revealed. The latter were presented credit checking services to alleviate risk. The remaining old-timers were dispatched a break notice letter.

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Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a news reporter specializing in information technology cyber security. Mark has contributed to leading publications and spoken at international forums with a focus on cybersecurity threats and the importance of data privacy. Mark is a computer science graduate.