Health information breach feared through surplus Alabama rehab equipment – AL.com


The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services is notifying the public about a possible personal information breach related to equipment used by Children’s Rehabilitation Service (CRS).
ADRS became aware last November about a breach through three surplus hearing-screening devices that had been previously used for pediatric screening referrals. The devices help determine the type of hearing services that are needed.
The devices had previously been used by CRS – one in Montgomery and two in Huntsville. After their use, they were sent to the Alabama Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs’ (ADECA) Surplus Property Division and sold.
The device once used in Montgomery was purchased by an Alabama audiologist who found the personal information still on the device and immediately contacted CRS to report and return it. The other two hearing-screening devices, used by the Huntsville CRS office between 2007 and 2013, are being investigated.
State officials with CRS believe the risk of identity theft is extremely low, as none of the devices contained Social Security numbers or personal addresses. The information on the devices included the child’s name, gender and date of birth, mother’s name, caregiver’s name, and the hearing-screening results, which were pass, fail, retry or incomplete.
ADRS has directly notified children’s families who were affected in the Montgomery area by letter and has provided resources and recommendations to further protect the information.
ADRS will continue to investigate the two devices used in Huntsville and follow the same protocol by notifying affected families. ADRS has notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as required by federal law, and is working to make sure protected information is cleared from all devices in future.
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