Army discloses theft of medical patients' data

Brooke Army Medical Center
Brooke Army Medical Center

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The names, phone numbers and health information of 1,272 patients being treated at one of the Army's top hospitals may have been breached by a car break-in, an Army spokesman said Wednesday.

An Army three-ring binder that may have included detailed information on soldiers and families being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center was stolen on Oct. 16 from a parked car. The theft occurred in the city but not at Fort Sam Houston, where BAMC is located, said spokesman Dewey Mitchell.

San Antonio police and Department of Defense were notified when the break-in occurred. Patients were told nine days later, after Army officials figured out which patients might have had their information compromised, Mitchell said.

The Army waited until this week to disclose the possible breach to comply with a recent change in federal law, Mitchell said.

Army officials believe it's unlikely the soldier information will be used for identity theft or other illegal activity, but Mitchell couldn't immediately say whether there had been any reports of misuse so far.

BAMC houses the Army's only burn unit and is among its top facilities for treatment of amputees and other severely wounded soldiers.