Officials: Personal Information Breached, Posted to Social Media

State officials say a former patient at New Hampshire's state psychiatric hospital posted confidential information about thousands of people on a social media website.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers says a patient using a computer in the New Hampshire Hospital library in October 2015 accessed information about as many as 15,000 people who had received department services. On Nov. 4, hospital security notified authorities that the individual had posted confidential information online.

The information, which included names, addresses and Social Security numbers, was removed within 24 hours, and a criminal investigation was launched. There's no evidence the private information was misused.

Meyers said a staff member noticed the patient had accessed non-confidential department information but the incident was not reported to hospital management or the state.

Shirley Dennis, a former nurse at New Hampshire Hospital, said the same guy hacked into that hospital's system earlier this year. During that incident, he posted a training manual online.

"I knew that that person had been banned from library computer use throughout hospital, but I didn’t realize it had got that far. That it was a breach like that," Dennis said.

Dennis, who is on state insurance, said her fear is what someone could do if they have her information.

"It's very worrisome — all my information can be out there for anyone to use. Identity theft, fraudulent claims, it can really reek havoc — my personal life, my financial life," Dennis said.

The department says it is notifying those who may have been impacted by the breach, and those affected may call 1-888-901-4999, a toll-free number, with questions. They have also posted a letter on their website with detailed information.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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