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PA Department of Public Welfare Begins Outreach to Medical Assistance Consumers Following Burglary at State Office Building
Date:9/11/2007

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Public Welfare today began notifying medical assistance consumers in the behavioral health system whose personal information may have been contained on two computers that were stolen from a DPW office building in Harrisburg.

The burglary remains under investigation. There is no indication that any of the information on the stolen computers has been used inappropriately.

"The burglary was an unfortunate event and we sincerely apologize to all of those who may be affected by it," said Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman. "The department is taking all appropriate steps to prevent an incident like this from occurring in the future and is working with both state and local authorities and community partners to help those potentially affected."

The majority of information on the computers, which was protected by multiple security passwords, did not identify consumers by name and contained only coded information relating to the treatment of consumers in the behavioral health system. However, the information for approximately 1,819 consumers did include names and Social Security numbers.

DPW has begun mailing notification letters to the approximately 375,000 individuals in the behavioral health system that could potentially be affected in order to explain what has happened and to assist them with any steps they will need to take.

Consumers with questions or those who believe they have been affected should call the DPW hotline toll-free, (800) 692-7462, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Consumers may also call the DPW Change Center toll-free, (877) 395-8930 statewide or (215) 560-7226 in the Philadelphia area, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For additional information on identity theft, steps to take if you believe you have been a victim, as well as other helpful tips, visit DPW's Web site at http://www.dpw.state.pa.us or the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Web site, HYPERLINK "http://www.identitytheftactionplan.com" http://www.identitytheftactionplan.com.

CONTACT: Stacey Witalec

(717) 787-4592


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
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