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Pennsylvania Health Department Firing COVID-19 Contact Tracing Company After Data Breach

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) - The Pennsylvania Department of Health is firing the company hired to do COVID-19 contact tracing after a data breach impacting at least 72,000 people.

The Department of Health informed the Senate Communications and Technology Committee Thursday that it would be terminating Atlanta-based Insight Global's contract. Up until now, the state appeared to be letting the contract -- over $20 million -- run out.

The current contract doesn't expire until July 31, but now the Department of Health will terminate the contract early on June 19.

The previous news of the state letting the contract run out didn't sit well with many lawmakers and lawyers upset by the breach of personal health information that affected tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Even the governor made it a point to say the Department of Health "did not renew" the contract, but many said that's not good enough since the contract didn't expire until the very end of July.

Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam confirmed the termination to reporters at a press conference, saying there's a 30-day transition time. Beam said the state is working to make sure there's not a break in contact tracing continuity.

KDKA's Meghan Schiller also talked with attorney Phil Dilucente, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit against Insight Global. He said this is great news, not just for his case, but for Pennsylvanians.

State senators are now pushing to amend personal data breach legislation for data breaches within state governments, including third-party vendors.

The Department of Health gave KDKA this statement:

"As a matter of public trust, the Department of Health takes the safety and security of individuals' personal information very seriously. The contact tracing process is a core part of disease prevention in public health. As such, after more fully evaluating the circumstances, including the ever changing public health needs of Pennsylvanians, the Department is terminating its contract with Insight Global prior to its July 31, 2021 expiration. The Termination will be effective June 19, 2021.

"As you know, the Department has required Insight Global to notify individuals impacted by the recent security incident. We anticipate those notifications to begin this week. Insight Global's obligations to remedy the security incident extend beyond the termination of the contract and are not impacted by this decision.

"The Commonwealth's contact tracing operation will continue and the 1-877-PA-Health line will continue to be staffed.

"We regret that due to litigation filed against the Department, at this time, we are unable to provide more specific information regarding the contract termination."

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