Ohio mental health breach releases information on 59,000 Ohioans

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) is apologizing after accidentally releasing the patient information on 59,000 Ohioans.

The breach could’ve been 100 percent prevented if only the agency would’ve put the mailings in a sealed envelope to hide the names and addresses of it’s patients. Instead, they put it all on postcards.

Two different satisfaction surveys were sent out the patients. They displayed the patient’s name, address and a request for them to participate in survey about services they received through OhioMHAS.

The departments wants to stress, they did not include social security numbers or any specific information about services the patient received. The breach includes mailings sent to patients over the last 5 years–which totaled out to 59,000 patients.

2 NEWS Reporter Jordan Bowen spoke with a records expert at Cedarville University who says avoiding these types of issues comes down to having clear communication across all departments.

“You’ve got your administrative staff and clinical people and I make sure that I walk around and we talk,” Cedarville University Medical Services Director said. “We have regular staff meetings. We talk about project we’re going to do so that they clinical people can say ‘oh wait a minute I don’t think that’s a good idea’.”

As a result of the breach, OhioMHAS is now undergoing a thorough review of processes related to consumer research.

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