Personal information potentially compromised after break-in at Manitoba Health office

Personal health information was believed to have been breached after a break-in at the Manitoba Health Appeal Board’s Portage Avenue office in Winnipeg late Tuesday evening, according to the province.

While the extent of the situation isn’t clear yet, the province said in a Thursday news release it believes health details and other confidential information of some clients that was securely stored in the office at 500 Portage Ave. has been breached.

That could include social insurance numbers in “a very small number of instances,” the release said.

Staff have started contacting people who might have been affected, starting with those whose social insurance numbers were known to be on file.

They’ll be notified of the break-in and potential privacy breach, and referred to resources on how to prevent identity theft — which are also available on the province’s website and the federal government’s.

It appears two applicant files for the Mental Health Review Board, which shares the downtown office space, were also touched during the break-in, the release said.

The people whose files those are have either already been contacted directly or will be as soon as possible, the release said.

The privacy breach has been reported to the Manitoba Ombudsman, which the province said is standard practice.

The break-in has also been reported to the Winnipeg Police Service, it said.

Police spokesperson Const. Claude Chancy said in an email the incident was reported on Wednesday and is being investigated, but provided no further information.

The province said it will also review the incident to see if there’s anything that might prevent something similar from happening in the future.

The Manitoba Health Appeal Board hears appeals from Manitobans on certain decisions involving financial or operational matters in the health-care system, according to a provincial website.

Those can include appeals related to eligibility or level of service under the province’s home care program, personal care home placement decisions or insured benefit appeals, the province says.

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