Mississippi health department sends patient data to wrong contractor

The Mississippi State Department of Health sent  letters March 26 to an undisclosed number of Mississippi residents after it learned an employee mistakenly emailed an Excel spreadsheet containing patients' protected health information to J Michael Consulting, a CDC contractor in January.

The spreadsheet contained names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and lab results of patients treated at the Mississippi State Department of Health or any of its clinics in 2017.  Each person who received the spreadsheet in error told officials they deleted all traces of the email and did not share it with anyone.

Though state officials said it is unlikely anyone viewed the PHI, the email was sent unprotected, and it is possible someone could misuse it. The department adds that because the spreadsheet contained limited contact information, some clients whose information was included in the spreadsheet may not have received a notification letter.

As a precaution, the Mississippi State Department of Health will provide affected individuals one year of free credit monitoring protection.

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