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Personal info of thousands of children compromised in Medicaid mix up

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A child's personal information ended up in someone else's hands after a problem with Medicaid. A child's personal information ended up in someone else's hands after a problem with Medicaid.

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A child's personal information ended up in someone else's hands in Pender County after a problem with Medicaid.

After WECT started asking questions, the true scope of the problem came to light from the NC Department of Health and Human Services.  The problem stretches beyond one child and affects more than 48,000 people across the state.

In the Pender County case, a card showed everything from Medicaid identification numbers, to the child's birth date, and information about what doctor's office the child visits in Tarboro, NC.

However, it was mailed to Kristy Vernon who lives in Pender County. It also had Vernon's name and address listed on the Medicaid card issued by NC Health and Human Services.

Vernon says she doesn't know the child and was not expecting this card in the mail.

"I explained to her that I was very concerned that someone had used my information to apply for services," Vernon said about calling Pender County DSS.

"They said we don't know what to do. We're getting hundreds of these calls, and we just don't know what to do," Vernon added.

According to Vernon, Pender County told her there was an error in Raleigh, and they were asking people to send these cards back.

However, Vernon was left with many questions.

"If they don't send it back, where is it going?" Vernon said. "Is it going in the trash can? Are they going to use it for whatever purposes? So I don't know what's going to happen."

We also reached out to the Communication Director of DHHS asking those same questions. No one returned our calls, but after business hours on Friday evening, DHHS sent out a mass alert, stating the issue.

According to Sandra Terrell, the acting Medicaid Director, 70,253 children were switched from NC Health Choice to Medicaid at the beginning of the year due to new eligibility rules. As part of the process, they were to receive new Medicaid cards.  However, the state mailed 48,752 of those cards to the wrong people. The state release says the information released includes the child's name, Medicaid identification number, date of birth and primary care physician.

State officials are investigating to figure out how this happened.

The state says Medicaid benefits are not affected and they are working to get the cards out to the correct addresses. If you have a question about this issue, you can call the DHHS Customer Service Center Number on the back of the card.  That number is 1-800-662-7030. A reporter called the customer care number and the service closed for the week at 5 p.m. Friday, which is twenty minutes after the state sent out its news alert.

Meanwhile, Vernon still isn't sure if her information has been breached, because she can't get answers.

"It could be possible that my information or my child's information is in someone else's hands," Vernon said.

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