HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health will end the contract with the contact tracing vendor involved in the data breach first exposed by Target 11 last month.
Insight Global, a staffing company based in Atlanta, Georgia, received a $23 million contract to hire 1,000 contact tracers in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The contract with the company was set to end in July.
But Pennsylvania will now end the contract on June 19. Officials said they have expedited the termination.
Breaking: Pa health dept will now end contract with contact tracing vendor accused of compromising personal health information on June 19. Health dept had said they would wait until contract ends in July but have now expedited termination #wpxi— Rick Earle (@WPXIRickEarle) May 20, 2021
The breach impacted about 70,000 people across Pennsylvania. Earle discovered that health and other personal information collected during contact tracing was compromised.
A class action lawsuit was filed against the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Insight Global.
Vendor was supposed to notify those impacted by the data breach but apparently that hasn’t started yet. Pa health dept says that should begin this week #wpxi— Rick Earle (@WPXIRickEarle) May 20, 2021
State Rep. Jason Ortitay issued a statement in response to the state’s decision to end Insight Global’s contract, saying,
“Exactly four weeks ago, Insight Global’s actions came to public light, and I immediately called for the contract to end. I’m pleased DOH finally agrees with me but am disheartened that it took the agency so long to come to the same conclusion.
“I learned about this violation of trust and privacy in early April and alerted high-ranking state officials, but they dismissed my concerns. In addition, according to the agency’s statement today, Insight Global is just now beginning to notify individuals who have been affected by this security breach. As has been the case throughout the Wolf administration, there seems to be no sense of urgency to fix mistakes.
“I am still seeking answers about why the department or the administration didn’t take action when they were notified months earlier and again by me in early April. Also, how many more people had their information compromised because the governor’s administration did not act immediately? This deserves a full investigation so we can learn what happened and how to prevent it from happening again moving forward.”
Insight Global released a statement about the decision as well, saying,
“Insight Global is committed to supporting a smooth transition of this program and working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and those individuals doing this critical work to protect other Pennsylvanians through this contact tracing program. Although neither Insight Global nor the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are aware of any misuse of the information involved, we understand the concern this potential access to such information may raise. We are notifying all individuals whose information may have been impacted.”
In an email obtained by Target 11, the health department didn’t give a reason for expediting the termination. They just said that they take the security of personal information very seriously and after evaluating the circumstances decided to terminate the contract.
The email also said contract tracing will continue. It is unclear who the state plans to hire to take over contact tracing duties.