Contra Costa County in California is notifying about 4,700 patients of an information breach after their names were listed for more than a year in an online report of persons who owed payment to the county health services department.
In a notification letter to patients, the county said the names were in a bad debt report to the county board dated July 27, 2010, but not known to be on the Internet until Nov. 23, 2011.
The letter explained: "The July 27, 2010 agenda item requested the Board of Supervisors to authorize the discharge of certain Health Services accounts that were not collectible due to one or more of the following reasons: the accounts were discharged in bankruptcy; debtors were deceased; the statute of limitations for pursuing recovery of the debt had expired; the cost of recovery was excessive; and/or the debtor no longer resided in the state. Attached to the Board Order was a list of names of patients who had received health care from the County and the amount of the debt being discharged."
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