SuperTalk Mississippi

Department of Health warns of possible data leak

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has issued a warning to state residents that their personal information may have been accidentally released.

In a news release, the department says that letters were sent to Mississippi residents notifying them that protected health information was accidentally released to J Michael Consulting, a contractor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Information included could be their name, date of birth, social security number or lab results, This could have resulted in an unauthorized disclosure since the information was not meant to be shared.

The MSDH says that they became aware that an employee unknowingly emailed an Excel spreadsheet containing patients’ protected health information back in late January. The department claims that a breach is not likely and that the information has been deleted.

“Each person who mistakenly received the spreadsheet said they deleted all traces of the email from their inbox and did not share the email or what was in it, according to the MSDH. It is unlikely that the personal information was viewed by anyone. However, because this email was sent unprotected, there is a possibility that it was seen by someone who could misuse it. MSDH has taken steps to increase security and lessen any harm that could be caused to any individual patient.” – MSDH 

While the department has attempted to contact everyone whose data may have been breached, they say that due to insufficient contact information, some clients whose information was included in the spreadsheet may not have received a notification letter.

If a client was treated at the Mississippi State Department of Health or any of its clinics in 2017 and is concerned about possible unauthorized disclosure of information, they may contact Nicole Litton or Christin Williams at 601-576-7874.

The MSDH recommends contacting the three major credit card companies to check your financial information: Equifax (800) 525-6285, Experian (888) 397-3742, and TransUnion (800) 680-7289.

If your information was included in the spreadsheet The Mississippi State Department of Health will offer free credit monitoring protection for one year.

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