[HEALTH.MIL] TRICARE Directs SAIC To Offer Credit Monitoring For Data Theft Patients

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  • Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011 09:59:24 -0600


TRICARE Directs SAIC To Offer Credit Monitoring For Data Theft Patients

By Bob Brewin 11/07/2011


The TRICARE Management Activity on Friday directed Science Applications
International Corp. to provide credit monitoring services for up to 4.9 million
beneficiaries whose health information was stored on backup computer tapes
stolen from an SAIC employee's car in San Antonio.


The move reversed a stance TRICARE has maintained for more than six weeks. In
its original announcement of the mid-September theft, TRICARE downplayed the
potential vulnerability resulting from what it called a data breach. "The risk
of harm to patients is judged to be low despite the data elements involved since
retrieving the data on the tapes would require knowledge of and access to
specific hardware and software and knowledge of the system and data structure."


In September, TRICARE did not offer credit monitoring, instead urging
beneficiaries "to take steps to protect their personal information" on their
own. On Oct. 10, the Defense Department was hit with a class action lawsuit
seeking $4.9 billion in damages and free credit monitoring services. That was
followed by a suit against SAIC, filed on Oct. 26, that also seeks $4.9 billion
in damages and free credit monitoring services.


TRICARE in a statement last Friday maintained its position that the risk to any
individual's personal data is minimal. "There is no evidence that any of the
data has actually been accessed by a third party, and analysis shows the chance
any data was actually compromised is low," the military health care program


Army Brig. Gen. W. Bryan Gamble, deputy director of the TRICARE Management
Activity said, "We take this incident very seriously," and as a result directed
SAIC provide one year of credit monitoring to patients who want it. SAIC will
also analyze all available data to help TMA determine if identity theft occurs
due to the data breach, Gamble said.


[NOTE:  Concerned patients may contact the SAIC Incident Response Call Center,
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, at (855) 366-0140 (toll
free) for United States callers and (952) 556-8312 (collect) internationally.]


This could hit SAIC with a hefty bill if all 4.9 million beneficiaries whose
data was on the stolen tapes ask for credit monitoring. When the Veterans
Affairs Department experiences a loss, theft or exposure of this kind, it
routinely offers credit monitoring services and up to $1 million annually in
identity theft protection at a cost per veteran of $29.95 a year. If SAIC
provided such monitoring and protection at the same rate, it would cost $146.8
million to cover 4.9 million people.


Filings in the class action lawsuit against Defense over the TRICARE data theft
show that the Justice Department initially has tapped a high-profile attorney,
Paul Freeborne, who handled the government's losing defense in a lawsuit against
the military's "don't ask,. don't tell" policy brought by the Log Cabin
Republicans, a gay Republican group.


Richard Coffman, the Beaumont, Texas, lawyer who filed the class action suit
against SAIC, said he does not expect a reply from the company until the end of



SOURCE:  NextGov News Release at




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