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July 5, 2013

HFS Announces Breach of Private Information

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced today that a managed care contractor experienced a security incident that may have resulted in the disclosure of personal information of 3,133 clients of the agency, all of which are served in Cook County.

On May 10, 2013, HFS was notified that a contractor, Family Health Network (FHN), issued ID cards to incorrect addresses.  HFS has a contract with FHN to provide covered services offered by the Illinois Medical Assistance program.  FHN was issuing its ID cards, and a computer program error resulted in the card going to another address.  The contractor is working closely with HFS to identify all the persons affected by this error, take corrective measures and has reissued new cards.

In compliance with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the Department is in the process of notifying all individuals that it believes were potentially impacted by this incident.  HITECH requires that the media should be notified in cases in which a breach involves more than 500 individuals.

The personal information on the Family Health Network ID card included member name, state issued Medicaid number and birth date.  The cards do not list a home address or social security number.  In a notice that is being sent to the impacted clients, the Department is recommending that they register for free fraud alerts with consumer protection agencies.  FHN is also reviewing procedures and safeguards to ensure that such a breach is not repeated.

For information on how individuals can protect themselves from identity theft, visit the U.S. Department of Justice website at http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html.


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