Denver, CO – The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (the Department) announced today that protected health information was unintentionally disclosed in a recent mailing. Letters were mailed between May 25 and July 5, 2015 and contained protected health information (PHI) of individuals from 1,622 households. The problem was identified on July 1st when a resident notified county workers after receiving a letter not intended for the resident. The technical error was corrected by the Governor’s Office of Information Technology on July 5th.
The information contained in the letters may have included names, address, state identification number or Medicaid case number, names of family members in a household, employer name, income from that employer, amount of an Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC), and whether the individuals were approved or denied for several medical assistance programs such as Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). For fewer than 50 of those affected, a date of birth was also disclosed.
NONE of these letters included social security numbers or other financial information commonly used for identity theft or fraud.
“The Department and its partners take the privacy of our members’ information very seriously and is notifying those impacted by this breach,” said Susan E. Birch, MBA, BSN, RN, executive director. “The Department in partnership with its vendors, has taken additional steps to prevent future errors.”
The state has contacted those who received letters by mistake and has taken steps to retrieve and destroy those letters. The nature of the error was such that in most cases one person – but in some cases as many as three persons – received a letter by mistake and may have viewed someone else’s information.
Although the Department does not believe the disclosed information puts members at high risk for identity theft, the Department is separately contacting those members affected by this breach to offer free credit monitoring services. Consumers with questions can visit the Department’s website (www.colorado.gov/HCPF) or contact the toll-free hotline at 844-648-4636, Monday – Friday, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.