Optum sues former employees for allegedly stealing health data

OptumCare is suing Miami-based Cano Health in New Mexico, alleging that two former Optum employees stole medical data to poach patients and physicians.

According to the Sept. 30 lawsuit, a former OptumCare New Mexico employee allegedly accepted a position at Cano Health New Mexico while still employed by Optum, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

He then sent 24,000 medical records containing "physical and mental health issues, conditions and disorders" to his personal email for use at Cano Health.

The employee's supervisor at Cano Health, a former Optum director of clinical operations for primary care, then allegedly used the records to urge Optum employees and patients to join Cano Health, according to the Journal

Cano Health has since investigated and addressed the alleged data stealing internally, a spokesperson told Becker's

"Cano Health takes corporate compliance and data security extremely seriously, and we have a zero-tolerance policy, which we employed in this situation," the Cano Health spokesperson told Becker's. "Upon being informed by Optum Health that its data security had been breached by an Optum employee, we immediately launched an investigation, which resulted in the termination of both individuals involved in the complaint. We are pleased that this matter was identified and addressed so quickly, as we are preparing to open patient clinics in New Mexico, and we are excited to begin serving patients in Albuquerque and other new markets."

Optum told Becker's that it is taking steps to protect patient data.

"Optum takes the security of patient and company information very seriously and is taking all appropriate actions to safeguard the data," an Optum spokesperson told Becker's.

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