The vendor operating Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace call center took responsibility Monday for an employee leaving behind a backpack containing personal information of hundreds of clients outside a downtown Hartford deli, saying it was an inadvertent mistake and the worker had no nefarious plans for the data.
But the worker has been placed on administrative leave for removing clients’ personal information from the offices of the marketplace, Access Health CT, said Ilene Baylinson, the eastern regional president for health services at the vendor, Maximus.
She said Maximus is taking steps to make the office paperless, preventing workers from writing down clients’ information on notebooks and providing them erasable white boards instead.
“The bottom line is one of our team members made a mistake. He violated our corporate policies and procedures for handling personal data,” said Baylinson, adding how the unnamed employee, who underwent a full background check and training, “is deeply sorry” and has been cooperating with the investigation.
“Based upon what we know today, we have no reason to believe that any of this information was used for fraudulent purposes,” Baylinson said.
Baylinson said the unidentified worker said he left behind the backpack last Thursday afternoon. He had been sitting outside New York Deli & More waiting for a ride and said he thought he picked up his bag and coat, but only took the coat.
Someone eventually turned in the backpack to Republican Rep. Jay Case’s state Capitol office, which notified Access Health CT on last Friday around noon. The backpack included some paperwork with Access Health CT letterhead and notebooks with information on 413 clients, including 151 Social Security numbers.
Baylinson said the worker apparently jotted down the information while registering clients over the phone.
Jason Madrak, chief marketing officer for Access Health CT, said certified letters are being sent to all affected individuals notifying them of the situation and the availability of credit monitoring and other services being offered.
Connecticut’s House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, called the incident an “appalling lack of oversight.”