A computer drive containing health information from about 280,000 patients
slipped out of sight from the health insurer in charge of it — AmeriHealth Mercy. The company says it has no evidence that the data has been accessed. Seven social security numbers and 801 partial social security numbers are stored in the files.
Tena Friery, the research director at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, says about 14 million people have been affected by medical records breaches since 2005.
“Having medical information or any information in electronic format leads to additional opportunities for information to be lost, stolen, compromised,” said Friery.
In this case, AmeriHealth says someone in possession of a flash drive simply misplaced it.
Donna Burtanger, the vice president of marketing and communications for AmeriHealth said the drive was lost in the Philadelphia corporate offices.
“We’ve conducted a thorough investigation and have no reason to believe it’s nothing other than it’s misplaced,” assured Burtanger of the missing information.
The company is still in the process of notifying affected members.