About 18K doctors may have had Social Security numbers exposed

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About 18,000 doctors are being notified that the Blue Shield of California inadvertently included their Social Security numbers in rosters it is required to provide to the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), which are viewable by the public.

How many victims? About 18,000, according to reports

What type of personal information? Names, business addresses, business telephone numbers, medical groups, practice areas, and Social Security numbers.

What happened? The Blue Shield of California inadvertently included Social Security numbers in rosters it is required to provide to the DMHC. The rosters are public documents.

What was the response? DMHC has acquired and installed data loss prevention software to scan all documents submitted to the DMHC via its electronic filing system, in order to alert if confidential information is included. Blue Shield has revised procedures for preparing and submitting provider rosters to DMHC, which includes multiple levels of data review and validation before filing. All impacted individuals are being notified, and offered a free year of monitoring services.

Details: The DMHC discovered on May 16 that the Blue Shield of California inadvertently included the Social Security numbers in rosters provided in February, March and April of 2013.

Quote: “We have no reason to believe that your personal information has been misused,” Sarah Ream, privacy officer with DMHC, wrote in the notification.

Source: oag.ca.gov, “BSC/DMHC Provider Notification Letter,” July 2014.

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