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Lost TRICARE backup tapes could expose nearly 5M records

Government Health IT, September 30, 2011

TRICARE, which provides civilian health benefits for military personnel, military retirees and their dependents, announced that Science Applications International has reported a data breach involving  personally identifiable and protected health information impacting an estimated 4.9 million military clinic and hospital patients. The breach was reported by SAIC on Sept. 14 and involved backup tapes from an electronic healthcare record used in the Military Health System to capture patient data from 1992 through Sept. 7, 2011, from patients who received care in the San Antonio area military treatment facilities (including the filling of pharmacy prescriptions) and others whose laboratory workups were processed in these same facilities even though the patients were receiving treatment elsewhere. The back-up tapes may have included Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions, but officials said there was no financial data, such as credit card or bank account information.