A former employee of a large Connecticut health provider claims the company sent him personal information on tens of thousands of its patients.
It involves an external hard drive that a Ali Eslami claims was mistakenly sent to him after he was fired from Community Health Center. Eslami claims the hard drive has records of at least 130,000 CHC patients on it.
Eslami, the former information technology director for the company said he was fired by Community Health Center earlier this year, after he said he blew the whistle on the non-profit when a Trojan horse was discovered in its computer system, and the company didn’t fully address the problem.
“It is our job to protect that data and find out what happened, what was taken, and I think that they had an obligation to tell employees and patients and they were not willing to do that,” Eslami said.
He recently looked at a box of items the company sent to him after his firing, and found an external hard drive with the patient records.
According to CHC's website, the health care provider treats the uninsured, under-insured, and many patients with AIDS and HIV.
“It’s HIV data. It’s hepatitis data, it’s lab results, it’s, you know, I’d rather have someone hack into my bank account than hack into my electronic health record,” he said.
CHC released a statement to NBC Connecticut on Wednesday:
“Items returned were of a personal nature and did not include any data. They were thoroughly vetted by members of senior management to assure this. Since we severed our relationship with Mr. Eslami six months ago, he has engaged in an online campaign to smear CHC and others and has repeatedly threatened to harm CHC and its employees.”
NBC Connecticut did not look at the data Eslami claims is on the hard drive he received. It would be a violation of patient privacy laws to view it. Because of that, NBC Connecticut cannot verify the authenticity of Eslami's claims.
So far the Department of Public Health says it has not been alerted about this situation.