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Personal Info Taken In Health Care Computer Theft

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26, 2002 – Thieves made off with computer equipment and files from the Arizona office of a military health care contractor Dec. 14, gaining access to some clients' social security numbers, according to DoD's health care management organization.

The TRICARE Management Activity noted in a Dec. 23 news release that TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp., a TRICARE contractor, provides services to military members, their families and retirees living mostly in the central and western United States.

Data files embedded within equipment missing from the Phoenix facility "contained sensitive and personal TRICARE Prime beneficiary information -- including claims history and social security numbers," according to documentation provided by TriWest.

The TriWest document went on to say that officials could account for no motive for the alleged thefts.

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service, FBI and other law enforcement organizations are investigating the incident, according to the TMA release.

The department had been notified of the theft Dec. 20th and DoD has since been working with TriWest, according to TMA, to ensure uninterrupted service for beneficiaries.

TriWest covers TRICARE beneficiaries living in Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and extreme western Texas, according to the TMA release.

Affected TRICARE beneficiaries can call a toll-free number, 1-888-339-9378, for more information.

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