COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Dorn VA Medical Center has notified more than 2,000 veterans that their personal information may be at risk.
Officials with the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center said Monday it sent letters notifying 2,179 veterans that their personal information may have been compromised when four boxes of reports were reported missing from a lab. The missing pathology records, stolen from a locked lab, were from dates of service in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
"Today's announcement by Dorn is another example of why so many have lost faith in our nation's VA system," Sen. Tim Scott said in a release. "The 400,000 veterans in South Carolina deserve better from the VA. Safeguarding veteran's medical records is among one of the most basic responsibilities of VA and its medical centers. Our veterans shouldn't have to worry that that's not happening. I truly hope Dorn is correct and there are no additional files missing and that no veteran's information has been misused."
The records contain identification information such as names, social security numbers, and pathology results.
"We are contacting our Veterans who may have been impacted," said Medical Center Director Timothy McMurry, "for we take the loss of personal information very seriously."
Medical center staff reported the records missing on July 14th. They were part of a shipment being prepared for transferred to a long-term records storage facility. The incident is under investigation.
VA officials say staff have accounted for all other records and there is no indication the missing information has been misused. But as a precaution, one year of free credit monitoring has been offered.
McMurray says affected veterans should receive their notification letters this week.
Veterans who receive a notification letter and have questions can call the Dorn VA Privacy Officer at (803) 776-4000 extension 7692.
Dorn VA provided WIS with the following statement via McMurry:
"The leadership at the Dorn VA takes protecting veteran's personal information very seriously. We have notified, by letter, each veteran impacted so we can provide credit monitoring as needed. The documents involved are very dated and were being prepared for shipment and long-term storage. After the incident, I also had a consultant review our facility who made recommendations for improvements to our Privacy and Records management program resulting in stronger processes, accountability, and personnel changes to better safeguard our veteran's private information. The Dorn VA is experiencing many improvements to meet and exceed our veterans expectations and it is unacceptable when an incident such as this occurs. I take it seriously and am sharing this message with our employees. However, I can assure you our employees are committed to making improvements and following me on this journey to make Dorn a top performing health care system within the Veterans Administration and our community."