Nine million state records containing Social Security numbers and other sensitive data used to verify Medicaid claims went missing for more than two weeks, and state officials didn't know for more than half that time.
None of the data stored on the 14 computer tapes was compromised before being found Monday, Health and Human Services Commission spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said.
A courier delivering the tapes to a vendor placed the tapes inside the wrong bin in a state office building, Goodman said. State officials are now promising to implement new tracking procedures.
The state employment data on the tapes are used to cross-check with Medicaid claims to ensure that clients aren't covered by private insurance. Goodman didn't know how many Social Security numbers the tapes contained but said it is difficult to access the records without specific knowledge.
The quarterly report was being transferred from Northrop Grumman Corp., which maintains the mainframe computers containing the workforce data, to the Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership, a coalition of contractors that processes Medicaid claims.
The lead contractor for the commission is Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services. Spokesman Kevin Lightfoot said the contractor wasn't told the tapes were on their way so he didn't initially know they were missing.
The company is now exploring transferring the data electronically to improve security, Lightfoot said.