Southern California Medical-Legal Consultants, Inc. (SCMLC), a California company that represents medical providers in the recovery of billing from workers’ compensation insurance carriers, announced on Saturday that data containing the names and social security numbers of approximately 300,000 individuals who have applied for California workers’ compensation benefits had been exposed to unauthorized access.
SCMLC said it was notified of the exposed data by a security firm that discovered some of the files that had been indexed by Google. According to SCMLC, the information was stored on a computer that was intended for internal purposes only.
These types of incidents are not uncommon. In April, the Texas Comptroller’s Office announced that it had exposed personally identifying information of about 3.5 million Texans as a result of data on an agency server being accessible to the public. Back in November 2010, a faculty member at the University of Hawaii West O‘ahu inadvertently uploaded files containing data including names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates and educational information to an unencrypted faculty web server that also had been indexed by Google.
“Unfortunately, our internal security policies and procedures were not followed,” said Joel Hecht, President of SCMLC. “We were notified, we took immediate steps to remediate the situation and we are taking long-term measures to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. While we believe that the risk of identity theft is minimal, SCMLC is doing everything required under the law with respect to notification of anyone who could be affected by this incident,” Hecht added.
SCMLC’s clients have included the largest hospital companies in the country as well as health insurers, HMO, large public hospitals, medical groups and union health trusts.