By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Personal data on 1,717 children getting services through a Metro Nashville Health Department program for the disabled has gone missing and the matter has been reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The data, which was contained on nearly 2,000 index cards, has not been recovered though the loss was first discovered in mid-July. The possible data breach was recently posted on an HHS website containing information on health care data breaches affecting more than 500 individuals.
A health department spokesman, Brian Todd, said the cards went missing in the midst of an office relocation and it is believed they were discarded in a landfill.
The cards contained the names, addresses, social security card numbers,
birth dates and medical coding numbers for recipients of a program for the disabled.
The 1,717 youths were getting care under a program known as Children's Special Services which provides services to children up to age 21 with chronic illnesses or disability needs. The program, which has income limits, provides funding for such items as medical bills, prescriptions and durable medical equipment.
Todd said that thus far there has been no indication that any personal information was accessed "and we believe they ended up buried under several feet of trash."
He said the information on the cards dated back several years. The loss was discovered on July 24.
Following the discovery of the missing cards, Metro officials contacted the potential victims and offered them a year's worth of identity protection services.
The reporting of health data breaches became mandatory under the same 2009 law which created the federal economic stimulus program. Thus far health care providers have reported possible breaches affecting more than 30 million people.