Missing VA hospital hard drive troubles local veteran

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Local veterans have been notified that a portable computer hard drive used by an employee of the Birmingham VA Medical Center is missing.

This is not the first instance of such a security breach involving records of veterans. Last year, it was reported that personal information of millions of veterans and military personnel disappeared in a May 3, 2006, burglary in Virginia.

Email newsletter signup

This time, however, the missing hard drive involves veterans who use the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

“My name might be on it. I go up there,” said Donald Atwood of Selma, who was notified of the hard drive loss. “I’m just getting tired of all this stuff happening to us.”

According to the letter Atwood received from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the portable hard drive “was used to back-up information contained on a VA employee’s office computer, related to research projects with which the employee was involved.”

Files on the hard drive could contact names, Social Security numbers, date of birth and health information on veterans who have been patients at the Birmingham center.

The Birmingham VA Medical Center has “conducted extensive physical searches and has involved local police and federal investigative resources,” according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

But, the hard drive remains missing.

Those who go to the VA Medical Center can call 1-877-894-2600 to get more information.

The department of Veterans Affairs also recommends veterans check their credit report to ensure no one is using their information. A free credit report can be obtained by calling 1-877-322-8228.