- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Veterans Affairs facility in Washington state has begun notifying patients of a recent security breach potentially affecting the personal information of nearly 2,000 former service members.

The Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane said it has started alerting some 1,915 veterans whose names, addresses and other sensitive information may have appeared on either of two stolen USB drives, local media reported Wednesday.

The drives were taken from a Veterans Health Administration contract employee while conducting a service call at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center on July 18, Spokane’s KXLY reported.

One of the stolen drives had been used in January to move the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center’s Anesthesia Record Keeper (ARK) database from an isolated server being decommissioned, the reports said.

“Although we cannot say for certain what information was stored on the stolen USB hard drive, we are alerting every Veteran whose personal information resides on the decommissioned ARK server,” the VA said in a release Wednesday, Spokane’s KHQ reported.

“We have determined the information at possible risk may include full names, social security numbers, addresses, phone contacts, surgical and insurance information,” the release said.

The VA intends to offer complimentary credit monitoring to veterans affected by the breach, KHQ reported.

The security breach is the second acknowledged in as many months for Mann-Grandstaff, an 84-bed facility specializing in providing preventive health care and chronic disease management to Spokane-area vets. The medical center announced in September that a laptop previously connected to a hematology analyzer recently went missing, potentially compromising the names, birthdates ad Social Security numbers of roughly 3,200 vets.

“Honoring and serving America’s Veterans is our utmost priority. We at VA take information security very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect Veterans’ information. Leadership at Mann-Grandstaff VAMC has developed a new media sanitization policy to prevent this from happening in the future,” the VA said at the time.

Law enforcement in Oklahoma was notified when the medical center’s USB drives went missing in July, according to Wednesday’s reports.

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