The Department of Veterans Affairs moved quickly to notify affected patients and federal officials following the theft of an unencrypted laptop from a contractor's personal vehicle on April 22, according to a departmental spokesperson.

The contractor served the VA's pharmacy program and the laptop contained patient names and Social Security numbers, among other information, on 616 veterans. The response is a "drastic change" from the VA's handling of a huge breach in 2006 that eventually affected about 28.7 million individuals, the spokesperson acknowledges.

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