New Mexico's Human Services Department is notifying about 9,600 Medicaid members of a breach of protected information that occurred in March.

The department has offered affected members one year of free credit reporting and fraud alert services. It also reported the breach to the U.S. Department of Health and Services' Office for Civil Rights as mandated under the HITECH Act's breach notification rule.

The breach occurred on March 20 when an unencrypted laptop was stolen from the truck of a car in Chicago. The car belonged to an employee of a subcontractor to DentaQuest, which processes claims and provides dental benefits to New Mexico Medicaid members. The laptop contained patient names and Medicaid identification numbers, which in some cases are Social Security numbers, as well as provider identification numbers. The laptop, which has not been recovered, was password protected but had no additional security controls.

The New Mexico Human Services Department is talking to health plan partners, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Lovelace Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, and Presbyterian Health Plan to ensure they and subcontractors are taking appropriate measures to protect information.

--Joseph Goedert


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