Losing Data Disks is Bad for HMO's Health
3/15/2011 by: Darleen Hartley
The security and comfort level of individuals whose personal data has been misplaced by Health Net is at a low point. The managed care organization whose mission is "to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable" has fallen short of its goal. Server drives containing pertinent information are missing from its data center.
IBM is the vendor responsible for managing Health Net's IT infrastructure. They notified the organization that "uh, they can't locate several server drives." The missing drives contain critical data such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, health and financial information of employees, health care providers, and Health Net members.
Health Net manages various health plans for individuals, groups, and government programs such as Medicare, Department of Defense, and Veterans Affairs. Approximately 6 million individuals across the US receive their health benefits through Health Net. Press releases say that "only" 1.9 million of those may have been compromised. Hopefully you aren't one of them. The organization says you'll be notified by letter if you are among the unlucky ones. A bad turn of events just before St. Patrick's Day. Let's hope you have the "luck of the Irish" on your side.
Scurrying to repair possible damage, Health Net noted that they are offering free credit monitoring services, fraud resolution, identity theft insurance, and restoration of credit files through Debix Identity Protection Network.
Following on the heels of the announcement, the regulatory agency that oversees HMOs (health maintenance organizations) in California, the Department of Managed Health, announced it is looking into Health Net's security practices. Health Net's own home office in Woodland Hills is also conducting an investigation of what happened to the nine drives missing at its data center in Ranch Cordova, just outside of Sacramento. Perhaps by searching the lunch boxes of their 2,000 employees or by shining a flashlight in a few forgotten crannies will bring the disks to light.
Back in 2008, IBM signed a five-year agreement for services with Health Net for more than $300 million. IBM was to manage Health Net's entire IT infrastructure to increase data center reliability and to save them money. As of today's announcement, it remains to be seen if they accomplished their objective. How do you spell REFUND?
HNT, the Security and Exchange Commission symbol for Health Net shows their stock closed today at $30. I'd look for it to drop with concerns about the costs of fulfilling the offers to repair any damage to its customers who are involved in the lost disks. It is easy to locate the company in Rancho Cordova. However, the disks may not be as easy to find as using a Google map search, but a thorough on-site search just might come upon the disks somewhere in that big facility.
IBM, Health Net, security, SEC, HMO, Department of Managed Health, Woodland Hills, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento, Medicare, Social Security number, Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, data center, server disk, Debix Identity Protection Network
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