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DHHS: Missing client records likely at landfill

Posted January 27, 2011

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
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— Missing records of clients' personal information likely ended up at a landfill, a Department of Health and human Services spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A set of computer disks belonging to the Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing came up missing after a recent office renovation, spokeswoman Lori Walston said. The disks were likely accidentally discarded and taken to a landfill.

The disks contained personal information about people who applied for services from the division's Equipment Distribution Service program from January 2005 to December 2008.

Special software is required to access information on the disks, Walston said.

"Our staff is revisiting policies and procedures to ensure protection of all records," DSDHH Director Jan Withers said in a statement. "Since 2008, all of our records were encrypted to protect their safety, and all information will be stored in electronic secure files effective Sept. 30, 2011."

The division has sent letters to clients affected by the missing records and notified the State Bureau of Investigation and Consumer Protection Section of the state Attorney General's Office about the situation.

Concerned clients can contact DSDHH by e-mailing care.line@dhhs.nc.gov or calling 919-855-4400, 919-733-4851 (TTY), 1-800-662-7030 or 1-877-452-2514 (TTY).

21 Comments

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  • ncnative24 Jan 28, 2011

    Support the school board or move, If your name is referring to the Wake County School Board, most of the folks on the school board are not from here so I think they would be the ones needing to move.

  • superman Jan 28, 2011

    Wow, some people complain about anything and everything. It plainly and clearly says you would need special software to access the files. Anyway if the disk was in the landfill, it most likely would have been damaged beyond use -- even if you had the special program. How many people go to the landfill looking for computer disk or personal records? Take care, maybe I will see you at the landfill this afternoon.

  • soapbox Jan 27, 2011

    So what? Some files were accidentally thrown away during renovations. It happens -- both in the public and private sector. Don't be so naive. You think paper files were never lost or thrown in the dumpster? Life goes on. Government agencies are obliged to report their errors. What if your stupid mistakes made the news? If Haliburton lost some client files, do you think you would have read about it in the news? Bet not!

  • I Change This Name Daily Jan 27, 2011

    i blame obamacare

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Jan 27, 2011

    Just more incompetence from the state of NC. Where Bev as your leader, is like a sewer leaking in your bedroom.

  • RB-1 Jan 27, 2011

    Oh, and consider this -

    We leave the lives of defenseless children in their hands.

    pfffttt

  • RB-1 Jan 27, 2011

    Are they flipping kidding!?!

    The ineptness within that department just keeps shining through.

  • keneds Jan 27, 2011

    Way to go !!! this crowd just keeps on shinning

  • John Sawtooth Jan 27, 2011

    This is the problem with trying to implement a security policy for computer users. No matter how much technology you apply to the problem, someone will find a way to out-dumb the technology.

    As someone who knows about this sort of issue, the claim that "special software" is required is ludicrous. If it's not encrypted, I could get the data off in just a few minutes, I don't care what format it's in.

    Fortunately it's already buried under a bunch of food containers and a few anonymous disks. Security though obscurity.

    SOMEbody is going to get spanked over a HIPPA violation. ;-)

  • GWALLY Jan 27, 2011

    In private industry you get fired...in government you simply "revise the policy"...then hire outside contractors to review the revised revisions..!!!!!

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