COLUMBIA — Nearly a quarter of all Medicaid patients in South Carolina had some of their personal information stolen by an employee who compiled the data over several months and sent it to his private e-mail account, state Health and Human Services Director Anthony Keck said Thursday.
Christopher Lykes Jr. was arrested Thursday. He was fired last week, but still hasn’t told authorities what he planned to do with the information from more than 228,000 people, Keck said.
At least 22,600 of the people had their Medicaid ID numbers, which are linked to their Social Security numbers, taken. Others had their names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates stolen.
Lykes on 17 different occasions since the end of January collected the information into a spreadsheet and sent it to himself in an e-mail. He was caught by the newly-created state Inspector General’s office as it checked on employees with poor performance reviews. Lykes was flagged because claims weren’t being processed fast enough, Keck said.
Lykes, 36, was a project manager with the agency. He is charged with five misdemeanor counts of violating the confidentiality of medical indigents and one count of disclosing confidential information. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of all the charges. He is being held in jail awaiting a bond hearing.
Letters will be sent next week to the 228,435 people whose data was taken. Anyone with questions can call 888-829-6561 or visit myscmedicaid.org, Keck said.