Stolen Laptop Includes HIV Patients’ Health Records
A laptop computer that contains the health information of 1,764 patients of the CARES clinic in Sacramento, Calif., was stolen on Feb. 10, the Sacramento Bee reports. The computer's records contain the name, age, gender, race, ZIP code and HIV status of each patient but do not include addresses, Social Security numbers or driver's license numbers.
The computer, which was stolen from the home of a University of California-Davis employee who was working on a federal grant for the clinic, was password protected. CARES officials said there is no evidence that any of the health information has been accessed.
Sgt. R.L. Davis of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said the medical records likely were not the target of the theft because other items were stolen along with the computer.
Marty Keale, the executive director of CARES, on Monday sent a letter to patients to inform them of the theft.
Officials from CARES and UC-Davis - which has a long-standing relationship with CARES - said they allow certain employees to take sensitive information home as long as that information is password-protected. They said they might revisit their policy to allow information to be taken home only if it is encrypted (Milbourn, Sacramento Bee, 2/23).