Susan Spencer reports:
Parents whose children received services in Uxbridge public schools that were partially covered by the state Medicaid program are being encouraged to request a security freeze on their children’s credit reports after a laptop containing personal information was stolen from a Medicaid vendor’s vehicle.
Kevin M. Carney, superintendent of schools, sent a cover letter to affected families Monday with information from the vendor, Multi-State Billing Services of Somersworth, N.H., on how the breach occurred and what should be done to protect children from identity theft.
The Medicaid data records included information on students throughout the school system, from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Thomas Champion, a spokesman for Multi-State Billing Services, said, “The likelihood of exposure appears at this moment to be quite low.”
Nineteen school districts in Massachusetts and one in Vermont were affected, Mr. Champion said.
The affected districts in Central Massachusetts, besides Uxbridge, are Ashburnham-Westminster Regional, Milford, Northboro, Northboro-Southboro Regional, Southboro and Sutton.
Mr. Carney said that while there is no indication that the information was actually compromised, the school district and the vendor recommended that parents take precautionary measures.
According to a letter co-signed by Mr. Carney and Daniel Courter, general counsel for Multi-State Billing Services, a Multi-State laptop was stolen from a locked vehicle on May 28. The laptop was password protected but not encrypted. The police believe the theft was random.
The laptop contained such personal information as each child’s name, date of birth, Medicaid ID and Social Security number.
Read more on Telegram & Gazette.
Okay, children under 18 aren’t permitted to have a credit report, so there should be nothing to put a security freeze on, but maybe it will prevent someone from trying to establish credit.
This is being cross-posted to databreaches.net and phiprivacy.net because it involves the education sector contracting with a HIPAA-covered entity.
So why was a laptop with unencrypted personal information and Medicaid numbers left in the vendor’s vehicle? Did the district have a contract with Multi-State Billing Services that required encryption for data at rest? Did it prohibit devices being left in unattended vehicles?