WASHINGTON - A D.C. government subcontractor has been fired after giving sensitive files that contained clients' social security numbers and medical information to a complete stranger without a background check so the worker could lighten her workload.
The subcontractor works as a case worker for Inner City Family Services in Southeast D.C., a firm that is listed as a “community-based service provider” on the District's Department of Behavioral Health website.
It remains unknown how many patients could be impacted by this breach. Although the director of Inner City Family Services said they have notified the compromised clients in our initial report, we found one victim who says otherwise.
“My birthdate, my social [security number] and my address and my grandmother's number – this is crazy,” said Adrian Jordan.
We showed the 32-year-old woman her case file, which also included her medical records.
“I was there this morning to get some medical records and there were two receptionists at the desk and neither one of them said anything,” Jordan said.
She said no one told her about her information being compromised after Inner City Family Services support worker LaToya Vaughter reportedly emailed a dozen case files, including Jordan's, to college student Briana Jenkins – who brought this to FOX 5’s attention.
“It's not right,” said Jenkins. “These people are special needs so if their identities are taken, they probably wouldn't even know.”
Jenkins said the files popped up in her inbox on Friday after responding to a job posting on Facebook. She said she called Inner City Family Services on Saturday to report Vaughter and was told to call back after the holiday weekend. Jenkins was finally able to reach the center's director three days later to report the case worker.
By Wednesday afternoon, Inner City Family Services director Tanisha Sanders told us Vaughter was fired.
“It's supposed to be private, confidential stuff,” said Jordan. “I mean, that's our doctor, that's our case worker.”
We are told Vaughter was on the job for three months, but her clients said she did very little to help during that time.
“She used to text me and tell me – if they ask, I've been over your house,” said Jordan.
Even though the city’s Department of Behavioral Health contracts with and even lists Inner City Family Services on its website, it seems the city is passing blame on this to Inner City Family Services. In a statement, the Department of Behavioral Health said:
“Inner City Family Services has independent responsibility to safeguard protected health information according to federal and District law. Inner City is responsible for notifying individuals involved in this case of any unauthorized disclosure and to take steps to minimize any negative impact. The Department of Behavioral Health is working with Inner City to make sure it complies with the law.”
One other issue not addressed by Inner City Family Services or the Department of Behavioral Health is that Vaughter may have sent the files to more than one person. Jenkins said she was the fourth person to inquire about the so-called note-taking job position and claims she was emailed the case files before she even accepted the job.
The mayor's office has yet to respond to our inquiry on this as of Wednesday night.