(UPDATE) Over 21,000 affected by DentaQuest breach in March still have not been notified

Cross-posted from phiprivacy.net:

From the what-took-so-long dept:

On May 11, this site reported that the New Mexico Human Services Department had just revealed that a laptop theft that occurred on March 20 affected about 9,600 people. The laptop was stolen from the car of an employee of West Monroe Partners, a subcontractor for DentaQuest, the company that does Medicaid billing for the state agency.

No explanation was given in the media report as to why it took from March 20 until May 11 to disclose the breach. Now, almost another month later, Daniel Potter reports that those affected will first start getting notifications next week:

More than 10 thousand Tennesseans’ names and social security numbers were on a laptop that was stolen this spring. The computer belonged to a contractor for DentaQuest, which manages dental benefits for several government agencies, including TennCare….. DentaQuest opened a call center today, and will start mailing out notifications next week.

The more than 10,000 Tennesseans are apparently in addition to the 9,600 affected individuals in New Mexico. So our initial reports that the breach affected 9,600 was only a partial report. It now appears that over 21,000 individuals had their first and last names and Social Security Numbers in the stolen database. Another 55,000 individuals had partial or non-personal information on the stolen laptop.

A statement on DentaQuest’s site explains some of the delay in notification by saying that they were first notified of the March 20th theft on April 1.

DentaQuest, a dental benefits manager for multiple government programs in the U.S., was informed on April 1, 2010 that one of its contractors had experienced the theft of a laptop containing confidential patient information. The laptop was stolen on March 20, 2010 and contained a database with approximately 76,000 individuals’ information. Most of the data was not sensitive in nature, but nearly 21,000 individuals’ first names, last names, and Social Security Numbers were contained on the device. Approximately 10,500 Tennesseans were included in the 21,000 total.

Read more of the statement on their site. I note that they omit any mention that the laptop was stolen from an employee’s car.

And do you think that their press release claiming that “DentaQuest Officials Move Quickly to Notify…” is accurate if it is taking them over two months to send out notifications?

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