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Press Release

California Department of Health Services Announces Breach of Personal Information

California Department of Health Services

March 2, 2007

SACRAMENTO -- The California Department of Health Services (CDHS) inadvertently mailed benefit notification letters to some individuals enrolled in the California AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Director Sandra Shewry announced today.

A total of 54 letters were mailed on Feb. 27, 2007, that contained personal information of clients enrolled in the ADAP Medicare Part D Premium Payment Program. Some clients received another client’s letter in error.

"On behalf of the department and our employees, I apologize for this incident," said Shewry. "Our employees have been trained in the laws and procedures regarding protection of personal information. Protection of client confidentiality is a high priority for each of us. The department is taking this matter very seriously and putting additional procedures in place to prevent these types of incidents from happening in the future. Disciplinary action will be taken consistent with state law."

The letters included individual names addresses, Medicare Part D plan names and Medicare Part D premium payment amounts. No other personal information, Social Security numbers or medical record numbers were disclosed.

"We regret that this information was handled inappropriately," Shewry said. "We have no evidence that this incident has caused any harm to the clients. Our investigation will continue until we can determine all of the facts and take whatever additional preventive measures are necessary."

A notification was sent today to the 54 affected ADAP clients via certified mail. Also, the California Highway Patrol has been notified of this disclosure.

"The California Department of Health Services is committed to a no excuses, zero-tolerance policy regarding the release of sensitive, personal and confidential information," Shewry said. "We are doing everything we can to ensure that all clients are notified and protected."

California law includes civil and criminal penalties for the willful, malicious or negligent disclosure of the content of HIV-related public health records.

ADAP provides antiretroviral and other drugs at no cost for eligible individuals infected with HIV. California’s ADAP is the largest such program in the nation and serves approximately 30,000 HIV-positive individuals.

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  • Mike Bowman
  • Lea Brooks
  • 916-440-7660