File theft spawns Providence mass mailing

Providence Home Services is contacting 1,573 local patients – current and former – who might be affected

January 28, 2006

The theft of data from Providence Home Services may affect up to 1,573 former and current patients, according to a Providence Health System spokesman.

Providence Home Services has begun contacting current and former patients following the theft of tapes and disks that hold confidential data. The theft involves the records of some 365,000 patients.

The theft only affects Providence Home Services patients. Patients who have received care through Providence hospitals and clinics were not affected.

Home Services include providing home oxygen and infusion, medical equipment such as crutches and wheelchairs, along with other medical care administered in the patient’s home.

Gary Walker, public relations coordinator, said Providence cannot yet ascertain how many of the affected patients are still in the Hood River area, as the files include people who received services here dating back to 1987.

The data were on computer backup disks and tapes in a case that was stolen from the car of a Providence employee. The theft was reported on Dec. 31, 2005. Providence is working with local law enforcement and the FBI.

The patients are predominantly in Oregon (83 percent) and Washington (16 percent), with the rest in other states.

The duplicate data sources were taken home nightly by designated employees as part of a backup process intended to guarantee access to critical information in case of an emergency at Providence’s primary offices. The theft was reported on Dec. 31.

Walker said the organization has firm reason to believe the information has not been compromised.

“There is no evidence that this person or persons has accessed that information,” Walker said.

“It’s on a special kind of optical disk, and you’d need specialized skills for it,” Walker said. “This information is protected. It’s not on generally available media. It’s not on a floppy, CD, or DVD. It’s not proprietary hardware but it’s a type that is not generally available.”

Further, the stolen data includes the files of about 1,500

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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