Many of the state agencies and private companies that help run government health finance programs say they have run into privacy problems.
More than 40% of the 378 private contractors and state agencies that participated in a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported suffering privacy breaches in 2004 or 2005.
The share of participating organizations reporting 2004-2005 privacy breaches was 38% at the Tricare program, which serves military personnel, retirees and dependents; 40% at state Medicaid agencies; 42% at Medicare fee-for-service program contractors; and 47% at Medicare Advantage managed care program contractors.
GAO researchers conducted the survey in connection with efforts to assess the risk of letting government health programs send members’ personal health information to overseas contractors.
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The privacy breaches reported in the survey did not necessarily involve international outsourcing operations, and the survey did not ask participating entities how extensive or serious the privacy breaches were, GAO officials write in a report on the survey findings.