Breach, Data Security

Programming error leads to 50K Medicaid cards mailed to wrong addresses

It was a computer programming error in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) that led to the Medicaid cards of almost 50,000 children being mailed to wrong addresses.

How many victims? 48,752. 

What type of personal information? Names, dates of birth, Medicaid identification numbers, primary care physician's names and physician's addresses.  

What happened? Medicaid cards were mailed to wrong addresses because of a human error in computer programming and quality assurance when printing.

What was the response? A notification letter will be mailed to the parents or guardians of all impacted children, advising them what steps to take to be issued a new Medicaid card. All recipients of incorrect Medicaid cards are being asked to shred it or turn it in to their county department of social services.

The state Office of Information Technology Services has been asked to conduct a review and to help ensure that a similar incident does not happen again. The NCDHHS Office of Human Resources has been instructed to conduct an investigation. The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, have been notified of the incident.

Details: NCDHHS began mailing the cards on Dec. 30, 2013. The new cards were printed for children being switched to Medicaid from NC Health Choice. A program was developed to extract information from an eligibility database for mailing, but it used wrong names and addresses.

Quote: “Until a new Medicaid ID card is issued, Medicaid eligible children impacted by this incident may continue to access medical services by using their NC Health Choice ID number or card,” Sandra Terrell, NCDHHS acting Medicaid director, said in a Monday release.

Source:, “Acting Medicaid Director Sandra Terrell Releases Information on the Incorrect Mailing of Medicaid Cards,” Jan. 6, 2014.

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