Healthcare News & Insights

Hospital COO accused of stealing patient data

A hospital is suing its former COO, accusing her of stealing patient data and other confidential information to share with her new employer. 

Frisco Medical Center in Frisco, Texas, filed a lawsuit against Cynthia Bledsoe, its former COO, and her new employer, Forest Park Medical Center. The suit accuses Bledsoe of stealing confidential hospital information and trade secrets, as well as patients’ protected health information, and brought it to Forest Park when she started working there.

According to the complaint, Bledsoe turned in her resignation three weeks after deciding to accept the new job. During the time in between, she allegedly used cloud storage services to upload confidential documents, the Southeast Texas Record reports.

In addition to the patient data, those documents included training pamphlets, strategic business plans and peer review letters, Frisco claims. The hospital is seeking a restraining order and a permanent injunction against Bledsoe, as well as financial damages, interest and attorney’s fees.

Insider threats are becoming a big security concern for healthcare organizations. That includes employees who intentionally steal data as well as those who accidentally put data at risk. In fact, one study says staff negligence is the most common cause of data breaches in health care.

Experts recommend providers offer training to anyone who has access to sensitive data and conduct background checks before people are hired — and as this story shows, that should include top-level personnel.

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