Washington VA notifies patients of compromised PHI after laptop goes missing

Spokane, Wash.-based Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Affairs Medical Center notified 3,275 veterans their protected health information was potentially compromised after it discovered a vendor-issued laptop was missing from one of its labs, a VA spokesperson confirmed to Becker's Hospital Review.

VA staff used the laptop to interface with a laboratory hematology analyzer between April 2013 and May 2016, before it was replaced by the vendor. However, the vendor has no record of removing the laptop from the facility. VA staff conducted a search of its premises, but was unsuccessful in locating it.

Although VA officials cannot say for certain what information was stored on the missing laptop, it determined names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for veterans that had a hematology sample processed on the analyzer may potentially be at risk.

Mann-Grandstaff VAMC officials have developed a new media sanitation policy to ensure appropriate safeguards for protected health information. It is also offering affected veterans one year of free credit monitoring from Experian.

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