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Acting Medicaid Director Sandra Terrell Releases Information on the Incorrect Mailing of Medicaid Cards

 

For Immediate Release
Monday, January 6, 2014
Contact: news@dhhs.nc.gov
              919-855-4840

Raleigh, N.C. - Today, Department of Health and Human Services Acting Medicaid Director Sandra Terrell released the following information regarding the incorrect mailing of 48,752 Medicaid cards to the wrong addresses:

After a review of the incident, it has been determined that some Medicaid cards were incorrectly sent because of human error in computer programming and the quality assurance process in printing the new Medicaid identification cards. These new cards were printed for children switched from NC Health Choice to Medicaid because of new eligibility rules and requirements under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). A program was developed to extract the information from the eligibility database to generate the mailing, but utilized the incorrect name and address for the parent or responsible adult.

The incorrect card shows the child's name, Medicaid identification number, date of birth and primary care physician's name and physician's address. No Social Security numbers were released.

The parent or responsible adult who received an incorrect card is being advised to immediately destroy it by shredding or cutting it into small pieces. They are also being advised that they can turn in the card to their county department of social services if they prefer. A directory of the county social services offices can be found here: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/local/.

A letter will be mailed this week to the parent or responsible adult of each impacted recipient that explains the steps DHHS is taking to issue new Medicaid ID numbers and cards to those affected recipients. That letter will also explain what to do until the new Medicaid card is received.

In approximately three weeks, each impacted Medicaid eligible recipient will be mailed a new Medicaid ID card with a new Medicaid ID number printed on it. Issuing new Medicaid ID numbers will mitigate misuse. Until a new Medicaid ID card is issued, Medicaid eligible children impacted by this incident may continue to access medical services by using their NC Health Choice ID number or card.

DHHS has also communicated with providers and provider associations to remind them they must verify a Medicaid beneficiary's eligibility and identity each time a service is rendered. DHHS will also flag the affected Medicaid ID numbers within its computer systems to carefully monitor their use.

DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos has asked the state Office of Information Technology Services to conduct an external review of the processes and procedures that led to this HIPAA breach to ensure a similar incident cannot happen again. In addition, she instructed DHHS' Office of Human Resources to conduct a personnel investigation into this incident.

DHHS has notified the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, of this HIPAA breach and will be providing formal letters of notification to affected individuals.

DHHS understands parents and responsible adults are concerned about unauthorized activity on the child's accounts. DHHS will send impacted recipients statements of Medicaid services rendered using their Medicaid ID number. This will help families to know whether the child's Medicaid ID number was misused.

If affected individuals are concerned about credit fraud, they may contact any of the following credit bureaus to ask that a fraud alert be placed on their account:

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
1-800-525-6285
Experian
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742
TransUnion
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6970
1-800-680-7289

If incorrect activity appears on personal credit reports, file an identity theft report with the local police or sheriff's department. Copies of the police report may be needed to clear issues with credit agencies.

To obtain more information about preventing identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission or the North Carolina Attorney General's Office at:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20580
877-438-4338
www.ftc.gov
Consumer Protection Division
NC Attorney General's Office
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-9001
877-566-7226
www.ncdoj.gov

If parents or responsible adults of affected recipients have any questions or concerns about this matter, they can contact the DHHS Customer Service Center 1-800-662-7030 during normal business hours.

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