NC DHHS begins notifying clients of breach that went on for years

Friday, November 8, 2013

Raleigh, N.C. – In 2009, pursuant to Executive Order No. 4, Governor Beverly Perdue directed the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) to build and maintain NC OpenBook in order to create a searchable website on State spending for grants and contracts. The Perdue Administration then began posting information in NC OpenBook regarding all payments made through the State’s accounting system.

The McCrory Administration recently discovered that for several years, information regarding all payments made from its State hospital accounts has been posted on NC OpenBook. Among the payments included on NC OpenBook were payments made on behalf of clients or to clients. As with all payments made through the state payment and accounting system, the information listed on NC OpenBook was the name, address, date of payment, dollar amount paid and the name of the facility that made the payment. No account numbers or other identifying information was released.

Upon discovering the incident, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), OSBM, and the NC Office of the State Controller (OSC) took immediate action. The information was quickly removed and is no longer accessible.

Although DHHS is unaware of any use or misuse of the information, DHHS is providing letters of notification to affected individuals. The letter explains the incident and provides guidance to individuals about protecting themselves. The DHHS Customer Service Center can be reached at 1-800-662-7030 for additional information.

Since the incident, DHHS, OSBM and OSC have changed their procedures to ensure this does not happen again. DHHS also notified the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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