SALT LAKE CITY: Utah's Department of Health has hired Love Communications for crisis support after the health records of more than 700,000 state residents were breached this spring.
The types of compromised information include Social Security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, diagnosis codes, provider identification numbers, taxpayer identification numbers, and billing codes. Up to 280,000 people had their Social Security numbers stolen. State officials discovered the breach in April.
The state attempted some outreach on its own, sending letters to victims with instructions on how to receive one year of free credit-monitoring services. However, a lower-than-expected number of people took advantage.
“Despite the state's pleas to victims to activate this credit-monitoring service, only a small percentage of people, approximately 25,000 as of May 8, have taken advantage of this service,” the RFP said. “Some people report being hesitant to sign up for the service due to a lack of trust resulting from the initial breach of information.”
Love's one-year contract is worth up to $200,000. The firm beat out six others in contention.
“They focused on the crisis at hand, and they identified specific threats and tactics that would protect victims from further harm. That was one of the strengths they provided,” said Nancy Orton, assistant director of Utah's Division of Purchasing & General Services
Love will launch a website and begin a statewide community event tour on Tuesday. It will let breach victims know about the resources the state has set aside for them, such as free credit monitoring, and what else it is doing to ensure another unauthorized disclosure doesn't happen.
“The most challenging aspect…is the breadth of the situation,” said Angie Welling, director of PR at Love. “A large number of the population was affected, and we need to make sure we are getting the correct information and tools into the hands of those impacted.”
The scope of Love's work also includes managing media relations and creating educational materials and online videos for the public, according to the RFP.