WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Thursday announced grants of almost $1.2 billion to help hospitals and healthcare providers implement and use electronic health records.
The Obama administration has made the overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system the centerpiece of its domestic agenda, including the use of technology to improve efficiency and cut costs.
The grants include $598 million to set up some 70 health information technology centers to help healthcare institutions acquire electronic health record systems and $564 million to develop a nationwide system of health information networks, Vice President Joe Biden's office said in a statement.
"Expanding the use of electronic health records is fundamental to reforming our healthcare system," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, unveiling the grants with Biden in Chicago. FULL STORY
Medical Problems Could Include Identity Theft
The last time federal data on the crime was collected, for a 2007 report, more than 250,000 Americans a year were victims of medical identity theft. That number has almost certainly increased since then, because of the increased use of electronic medical records systems built without extensive safeguards, said Pam Dixon, executive director of the nonprofit World Privacy Forum and author of a report on medical identity theft. FULL STORY
Hackers steal UC Berkeley health records
The University of California at Berkeley started warning students and alumni on Friday that online thieves infiltrated the school's restricted servers and stole medical records on more than 160,000 individuals.
The database exposed by the breach held information on UC Berkeley's students, alumni and staff, including health insurance information and Social Security numbers, the university said in a statement. The breach lasted from October 9, 2008 to April 9, 2009 (corrected), when campus administrators performing maintenance on the systems detected the intrusion. Early evidence uncovered in the investigation suggests the attack came from overseas and accessed the secured databases by compromising a public Web site run on the same server. FULL STORY
Hackers Break Into Virginia Health Professions Database, Demand Ransom
Hackers last week broke into a Virginia state Web site used by pharmacists to track prescription drug abuse. They deleted records on more than 8 million patients and replaced the site's homepage with a ransom note demanding $10 million for the return of the records, according to a posting on Wikileaks.org, an online clearinghouse for leaked documents.
Wikileaks reports that the Web site for the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was defaced last week with a message claiming that the database of prescriptions had been bundled into an encrypted, password-protected file. FULL STORY
3 men charged with largest data theft in US
New Jersey, August 18:In what is being touted by the U.S. Justice Department as “the single largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted” a former Secret Service informant Albert Gonzales and his two accomplices have been charged with allegedly stealing 130 million credit and debit card accounts from major retail chains.
According to the Department of Justice, (DOJ) Gonzalez, 28, of Miami and his two Russian co-workers are accused of hacking the computer network of the New Jersey based Heartland Payment Systems, the sixth largest credit card processor of the nation.
They also managed to penetrate the electronic data of customers at the national convenience store 7-Eleven Inc. and Hannaford Bros. supermarkets.
In addition two more companies were hit whose violations have not been made public. FULL STORY
Still want your doctor sharing your medical information with some data storage company? I don't. Once your identity is stolen, try to convince the creditors that you don't owe the debt they want to collect.