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HomeBest Practices → Back to the SAIC Breach and a Look Across the Chasm Between Significant Risk and Actual Harm Resulting from a HIPAA Breach

Back to the SAIC Breach and a Look Across the Chasm Between Significant Risk and Actual Harm Resulting from a HIPAA Breach Print E-mail
Written by Elizabeth Litten and Michael Kline   
Friday, 14 December 2012 10:42

We have posted several blogs, including those here and here, tracking the reported 2011 theft of computer tapes from the car of an employee of Science Applications International Corporation ("SAIC") that contained the protected health information ("PHI") affecting approximately 5 million military clinic and hospital patients (the "SAIC Breach"). SAIC's recent Motion to Dismiss (the "Motion") the Consolidated Amended Complaint filed in federal court in Florida as a putative class action (the "SAIC Class Action") highlights the gaps between an incident (like a theft) involving PHI, a determination that a breach of PHI has occurred, and the realization of harm resulting from the breach. SAIC's Motion emphasizes this gap between the incident and the realization of harm, making it appear like a chasm so wide it practically swallows the breach into oblivion.

SAIC, a giant publicly-held government contractor that provides information technology ("IT") management and, ironically, cyber security services, was engaged to provide IT management services to TRICARE Management Activity, a component of TRICARE, the military health plan ("TRICARE") for active duty service members working for the U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD"). SAIC employees had been contracted to transport backup tapes containing TRICARE members' PHI from one location to another.

According to the original statement published in late September of 2011 ( the "TRICARE/SAIC Statement") the PHI "may include Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions."

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To view author's bio's click on the hot links: Elizabeth Litten and Michael Kline

Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 09:16
 


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