Health Care Providers’ SSNs Exposed on State Web Site

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Social Security numbers of several hundred health care providers were exposed on the Internet when a contractor posted the information on a Vermont state Web site.

The Web site was taking bids from contractors for the administration of the state’s health insurance. In order to enable bidders to evaluate the kinds of bills health care providers had submitted in the past and to provide cost estimates, the Segal Group, which was hired by the state to put the health management contract out to bid, posted a list of providers and their taxpayer identification numbers. The providers’ taxpayer identification numbers were the same as their Social Security numbers, as is the convention in the health care industry.

Human Resources Commissioner Linda McIntire says the information was on the Web site from May 12 to June 19. The Vermont Department of Innovation and Information has been working to erase the last traces of the sensitive information from the Internet.

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