Top 5: Data breach winners and losers by state
In an epoch of Web hackers, procedural slackers, unauthorized users and viewers, PC pinchers and server swindlers, it’s a hard knock life for patient privacy.
Nearly 20 million patient health records have been compromised since the Aug. 2009 Breach Notification Rule, which requires that HIPAA-covered groups give notification following a data breach involving 500 or more individuals. And breach numbers haven't shown signs of waning any time soon.
[See also: 10 of the largest data breaches in 2012 ... so far.]
In fact, according to a 2011 Redspin report, which collected data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the total number of records breached jumped 97 percent within a single year. Moreover, according to some reports, data breaches can cost the healthcare industry, on average, $6.5 billion annually.
Such alarming numbers, together with the indiscriminate nature of breaches, means privacy is a luxury these days. This luxury, however, is not one typically bought or afforded, but rather one where you cross your fingers and hope for the best.
So who are the biggest offenders by state?
Generally, states with the highest population have the highest number of data breaches. For instance, California and Texas top the list, banking the highest number of data breaches in the nation. However, when population is taken into consideration, the numbers change substantially.
Using data from the HHS, here are the best and the worst states in terms of number of records breach per 1,000 people.
Blacklisted: Top 5 states with the highest number of data breaches
1. Virginia – 607 data breaches per 1,000 people
Although only having seven data breaches since the 2009 Breach Notification Rule, health organizations in Virginia have compromised the privacy and security of some 4,919,457 individuals. That’s more than half of the state’s population, which the U.S. Census Bureau has pegged at 8,096,604. Responsible for the bulk of that is the TRICARE Management Activity breach, which occurred Sept. 14, 2011. This single breach compromised the personal health information (PHI) of nearly 5 million people, effectively catapulting Virginia to the top of the list.
2. Utah – 279 data breaches per 1,000 people