Hospital Loses Veterans Personal Information

November 2, 2006

Three computer disks containing more than 1,400 Social Security numbers and other personal data of veterans has some Oklahoma veterans worried.

The disappearance of the disks has posed a risk for identity theft for the hundreds of veterans treated at a McAlester clinic.

The Veterans Affairs Hospital in Muskogee confirmed the loss in a letter mailed yesterday to patients of the McAlester clinic.

The lost information includes the names, Social Security numbers and billing amounts.

The missing disks were mailed separately from the hospital to the clinic, and are for the April, May and June billing periods.

Searches of the Muskogee hospital, the McAlester clinic and the hospital's other outpatient clinic in Tulsa for the disks were unsuccessful.

Officials say there's no indication of misuse of the personal information. But the hospital has since changed its billing practices.

The information now will be stored in a shared computer drive at the McAlester clinic,. It will also allow only two people each from the clinic and the hospital security clearance to access the information.

The loss of Oklahoma veteran information occurred about the same time the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs lost data for 26.5 million veterans.

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