A folder containing personal information of 620 patients from the Indian Health Service Rosebud Service Unit was quickly recovered after being left in a public area at the IHS Rapid City Service Unit, according to a news release.

IHS officials discovered the folder filled with classified information that included names, Social Security numbers and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs enrollment information that had been accidentally left behind on May 30 by an IHS employee.

A letter was sent on July 16 to everyone whose information was compromised to inform them of the privacy breach and to issue an apology, the release stated. 

William Bear Shield, the chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Health board and a veteran of Desert Storm, said Friday he was one of the 620 patients whose information was compromised. 

He spoke to many other veterans about the privacy breach, he said. The most common question he heard and the one he wants answered is: "Why was that information in Rapid City to begin with?

"I represent a community in Gregory County, 90 miles east of Rosebud, so what was my information doing up there?" He said. "Why was it in possession of an individual in Rapid City?"

Bear Shield said he asked employees at the Rosebud Service Unit why information was in Rapid City, but he said no one would give him a straight answer.

In accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, an investigation was conducted, the release stated. It appears that none of the information was accessed or used by any unauthorized individuals, according to the release.

Bear Shield received the letter that he said offered one year of free credit monitoring, but he still has concerns about his identity being compromised.

"How can I know if someone didn't find that information and write down my Social Security number and just wait a year before using it?" he asked.

Representatives from IHS could not be reached Friday for comment.

To prevent future occurrences, all IHS staff in the Great Plains Area will receive additional training in HIPAA privacy and security rules, according to the release.

Contact Scott Feldman at 394-8337 or scott.feldman@rapidcityjournal.com

(6) comments

Celtgunn
Celtgunn

Why more training, obviously the training they were given wasn't enough. Fire the fools. Hire better qualified personnel. Stop dithering around with this sort of thing and just do the job correctly in the first place. More Training every time they messing up isn't the answer. Obviously, because the people keep flubbing it! Not just in this particular office either. But in any Govnt. Job that they keep screaming "More Training!" for any of these idiots that keep flubbing their jobs repeatedly and only getting a more training slap on the hand. When will people become tired of that?

~Be Blessed

native10

I realize others may look at this issue as being a small deal. May I ask you something," Will you allow me to watch over your information for (1) Day? Now you understand my concern, what will become of my protection of my information after yr. 1? If anybody has any information as to yes a Lawyer will need to contacted,, I am also a victim and my information has been compromised already,,when/whom/why hasn't been answered. An off reservation company would be offering more than credit reporting,,lets look at getting legal advice as do many others would want to know answers. By the way, I wouldn't want to watch over your information for a day,,mine was compromised so please understand my concern,,Where do seek answers from?

thatsright

In the IHS if you mess up you move up. The responsible person will be promoted, moved to the aberdeen area office and mess things up on a larger scale. Just sayin.

buford

They can't even manage the money given to them ?????

Editor

I hope someone got fired for this.

tipimakr

"To prevent future occurrences, all IHS staff in the Great Plains Area will receive additional training in HIPAA privacy and security rules, according to the release." My point exactly in responding to Timothy's post on Alcoholism. MORE TRAINING! The IHS and the BIA never ever give us an honest answer, especially when the question is simple. The only time our personal information is taken to a work shop is when we are being used to ask the Great White Father for additional funding.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.