Metro Health Department warns of privacy issue

Metro Health Department warns of privacy issue (Image 1)

Metro Nashville’s health department discovered that around 1,700 people’s personal information may have been lost in July. The information impacts the Children Special Services program.

The Metro Public Health Department is mailing out letters to notify participants in the Children Special Services program that their personal information could be at risk.

The health department discovered around 1,700 index cards with names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses and medical coding were missing following the departments move to its new building on July 18.

The records were discovered missing on July 24 when health department workers were unpacking in their new office space.

The people impacted were a part of CSS dating back to 2003.

“We are letting them know we started an investigation immediately and we do not believe, according to our investigation, that any of their information was accessed,” health department spokesman Brian Todd said. “We believe those index cards probably ended up in a landfill.”

Health department officials told News 2 that as a precaution the department is offering all the impacted people one year of free identity protection through AllClear ID.

The clients will not have to enroll in the program, but if an issue of identity theft arises they need to call AllClear ID.

According to the health department, a dedicated investigator will work to recover financial losses, restore credit and repair other damage done through the identity theft.

The department also set up a help line for people who have questions at 615-340-5377.

“When we realized these files were missing, we did a thorough review of all files that were moved from the old building to the new building,” Todd explained. “No other files were missing, so if you came here for any other service you are not impacted.”

The health department had the index cards to comply with regulations that require they keep records on CSS participants for 20 years.

CSS is a statewide program offered through the Tennessee Department of Health that helps children from birth to 21 years old with chronic illnesses or disability needs.

It provides financial assistance for medical bills, prescriptions and case management.

The program is targeted to low income families.

The department is looking for ways to prevent another breach similar to this in the future.

One option is to scan all of its older paper records and put them on a secured server.

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