Home Care Data Breach Leads to California State Overhaul

A data breach of home health employee and client information has led to an overhaul in California regarding how sensitive data is transported. 

The data breach jeopardized personal information for more than 700,000 people in May, according to a report by the L.A. Times. Now, California Department of Social Services officials say, the transportation process must be improved. 

The L.A. Times reports

A data breach that jeopardized the personal information of more than 700,000 people has spurred California officials to change the way they transport sensitive material.

Packages of payroll data, including Social Security numbers, will be delivered by courier rather than dropped in the mail. And officials are examining ways to transmit encrypted data rather than store it on microfiche.

“We’re looking to improve the process,” said Oscar Ramirez, a spokesman for the California Department of Social Services.

The overhaul follows a breach earlier this month involving information about people who provide or receive home care for the elderly and disabled. A package shipped by Hewlett-Packard, which handles payroll data for workers in California’s In-Home Supportive Services program, arrived damaged and incomplete at a state office in Riverside.

Labor unions that represent home care workers were outraged.

“We are dismayed by the revelation that confidential IHSS payroll information is being stored on non-encrypted microfiche tape,” said a statement from Doug Moore, head of the UDW Homecare Providers Union. “It is shocking that a large state like California would use such antiquated procedures to maintain confidential personal information — especially in this time of increasing identity theft.”

An investigation is ongoing, Ramirez said.

View the original L.A. Times article

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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Elizabeth Ecker
Director of Content at Home Health Care News
Curious about all things, when not writing about senior housing topics, Liz is an avid explorer of food. She loves trying new recipes, new restaurants and new ice cream flavors. (Current favorite: Goat cheese with red cherries.)

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