Personal laptop, possibly containing data on 5M patients, stolen from HHS facility

U.S. officials are demanding answers after a personal laptop and other equipment containing patient data was stolen from a federal HHS facility.
U.S. officials are demanding answers after a personal laptop and other equipment containing patient data was stolen from a federal HHS facility.

A personal laptop and hard drives that may contain sensitive data on close to 5 million medical patients, including Social Security numbers, was stolen from a Washington State federal building, prompting calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reveal the extent of the damage.

According to an AP report, the top ranking members of the U.S. House's Oversight & Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell criticizing the use of personal equipment to store patient data as a "violation of HHS privacy and security policy.” Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also sent a letter requesting details on the breach.

The equipment was stolen from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in Olympia, Wash., in early February. The laptop was reportedly used to conduct child-support audits. The AP also reported that Olympia police arrested suspects Nicholas Perring and Demario Heard for allegedly committing the burglary.

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