State Employee Oversight Leads to Missmailing of Health Information for Thousands of Illinoisans

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 26, 2021 at 4:08pm

An oversight by a State of Illinois employee lead to the mailing of protected health information to the wrong address for some 8,000 Illinoisans.

Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT), the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) (collectively, the Departments) collectively notified the media today of the security incident with the State of Illinois’ Integrated Eligibility System (IES).

According to the announcement, a state employee matched a file received from the National Change of Address registry at the United States Postal Service against an out-of-date client file.

Officials say the resulting file was loaded into IES, the State’s eligibility system, and incorrectly changed the addresses for households 8,848 registered with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Department of Human Services.

They say as a result of the error, in late November and December of last year, notices were mailed to 8,848 households at incorrect addresses. The notices were sent to the right customer name at the wrong customer address.

State officials say the notices mailed to the incorrect addresses may have included information such as the individual’s name, case number, status as a recipient of medical assistance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or SNAP benefits, as well as names of dependents, birth dates, medical information numbers (RIN), medical eligibility category, and medical coverage dates.

They say the information involved depends on the type of notice that was mailed, however, one notice included a complete Social Security number, and five notices included a complete bank account number.

To date, officials say the Departments are unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of personal information as a result of the incident. They say as soon as the Departments became aware of the issue, the correct addresses were entered into the system to prevent future mailings to the wrong address.

The Departments suggest that individuals with questions may write to HFS HIPAA/Privacy Officer, 201 South Grand Avenue East, Springfield, IL 62763, or email Credit reporting agencies and the Federal Trade Commission can also offer information about fraud alerts and security freezes and contact information for those organizations are being provided to the affected individuals.