Computer theft prompts reward offer

A government health care contractor has posted a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of thieves who stole computers containing personal data about more than 500,000 military members.

The data'including names, addresses and Social Security numbers'came from records for beneficiaries of the Defense Department's Tricare health care system.

Dave McIntyre Jr., president and chief executive of TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp., said last month the computers housing Tricare data were stolen from his company's office in Phoenix. TriWest manages health care services for 1.1 million military personnel and their families in 16 central and western states for DOD's Tricare Management Activity.

'While information has been compromised, we do not have any indication that anyone's personal information has been misused or will be misused,' McIntyre said in a statement.

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI and the Phoenix police are investigating the theft. TriWest and DOD have set up an e-mail address at computertheft@triwest.com and a toll-free call center at 888-339-9378 to answer questions regarding the theft. The company is also posting information on its Web site, at triwest.com.

'We sent a health care IT team to TriWest to review their security procedures and to make suggestions for improvements,' said Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs.

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