Business

CVS Caremark letters sent in error

Medical data go to wrong patients

The mistake was due to an unspecified “programming error,” CVS Caremark, pharmacy benefits manager for the Tufts Medicare Preferred Plan, said in a statement.

AP/File

The mistake was due to an unspecified “programming error,” CVS Caremark, pharmacy benefits manager for the Tufts Medicare Preferred Plan, said in a statement.

CVS Caremark Corp. said Friday that it mistakenly sent letters to about 3,500 Tufts Health Plan members, giving them personal information about the medical conditions and medications of other members enrolled in a supplemental Medicare plan managed by Tufts.

The mistake was due to an unspecified “programming error,’’ CVS Caremark, pharmacy benefits manager for the Tufts Medicare Preferred Plan, said in a statement.

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“We are monitoring this situation and CVS Caremark’s response and outreach to Tufts Health Plan’s Medicare Preferred Plan members,’’ said Sonya Hagopian, vice president at Tufts Health Plan, which is based in Watertown and operates in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The “medication information’’ letters went out to the wrong addresses in late January and early February, mostly to members in Massachusetts. Each letter included another member’s name, the name of a drug prescribed, and the general types of conditions that treatment is used for, according to CVS Caremark, based in Woonsocket, R.I.

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CVS Caremark said it has no evidence that information was used improperly and that the company promptly corrected the programming error. No other specific information, such as financial account numbers or insurance identifiers, was included in the letters, it said.

The company said it notified people whose names and information went to the wrong addresses. CVS Caremark said notices were also sent to the recipients of that information, asking them to mail the letters back or confirm they were destroyed.

“Nothing is more central to our health care operations than maintaining the privacy of plan members’ personal information,’’ its statement said. “CVS Caremark sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience or concern this incident may have caused.’’

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CVS Caremark spokeswoman Christine Cramer said the company would not discuss the episode beyond what it said in the statement.

Tufts’ Medicare Preferred Plan is the brand name for a family of supplemental products and options the health insurer offers to seniors who receive Medicare, the federal insurance program for older residents. The preferred plan has about 104,000 members overall.

Robert Weisman can be reached at weisman@globe.com.
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