Health Agency: Employee stole beneficiary information

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that one of its employees inappropriately transferred the personal information of 228,435 Medicaid beneficiaries to his personal e-mail account, constituting a security breach. “It is a stituation where we have seen an employee completely abuse the information that they have and use it for their personal gain and that is probably the most despicable thing we can ever expect to happen in State Government,” says South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. 36 year old Christopher Lykes, a former employee at the Department of Health and Human Services, has been arrested and charged in the case. He has also been terminated from DHHS. The agency found the violation during an agency performance review last week. DHHS says the information transfer took place in April. The data was contained in 17 spreadsheets, and the information included Social Security numbers, Medicaid ID numbers, and beneficiary names. The beneficiaries were located in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Lexington, Orangeburg, and Richland counties. “We are deeply apologetic, the agency is intrusted by a million people to secure their information and a malicious employee has transferred it out of the agency,” says Anthony Keck, Director of SCDHHS. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was notified of the situation. The employee suspected of stealing the information was terminated from his job last week. “Agents have now taken posession of his owrk computer and the employees personal computer,” says Mark Keel Director of SLED. “At this time, we know of at least one other party who has received date from this former employee,” says Keel. “We expect this to be handled swiftly, we are going to make sure the proper people are prosecuted, we’re going to make sure this never happens again,” says Governor Haley. Lykes is charged with 5 counts of Medically Indigent Act Confidentiality Violation and 1 count of Disclosure of Confidential Information. Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services say they will send personal letters to all those affected by this information breach, and if you feel that you were affected, you can learn more by visiting the South Carolina Medicaid Page or call 888-829-6561.

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