2 Chicago health systems suspend ties to Outcome Health following WSJ allegations

Two Chicago health systems are suspending plans to further engage with Outcome Health in light of recent allegations employees at the Chicago-based technology and advertising startup manipulated pricing and sales information and that the company engaged in fraud and breach of contract, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Spokespeople for Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Health Care and Naperville, Ill.-based Edward-Elmhurst Health told the Chicago Tribune they plan to hold off on expanding their use of Outcome Health technologies.

"We are monitoring the situation closely. In the meantime, we've paused plans to expand screen installation," a spokesperson for Advocate told the Chicago Tribune via email Thursday.

A spokesperson for Edward-Elmhurst Health, which announced its partnership with Outcome Health earlier this month, said the health system is holding off on its previous plans to roll out the technology systemwide.

"We partnered with Outcome Health because of the company's mission to educate and empower patients, and its alignment with our own vision to transform the healthcare experience," the spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune Thursday. "In light of recent developments, however, we are putting further technology and equipment installations on hold."

The startup also recently revealed a partnership with Macon, Ga.-based Navicent Health. Navicent did not return Becker's Hospital Review's request for comment.

The allegations against the company stem from an October report by The Wall Street Journal, which claimed a group of Outcome Health employees manipulated pricing and sales information to mislead pharmaceutical advertisers. On Tuesday, a group of investors sued the company and its two founders, alleging Outcome Health engaged in fraud and breach of contract.

In the wake of the lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed several Outcome Health investors Thursday. The court filing also indicated potential involvement by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the report.

According to documents filed in court Wednesday by a lawyer on behalf of the company's two co-founders, there is no evidence senior management was involved or aware of the alleged misconduct, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In a statement on the company's website, Outcome Health CEO and co-founder Rishi Shah wrote: "Integrity is the foundational value at Outcome Health — that has always been our commitment. … Outcome Health is committed to and has always expected all of our employees to operate with the highest ethical standards and in accordance with our values. … We appreciate the hard work of our dedicated employees, and want to reiterate that adherence to our policies is not optional — anyone who violates them will be held accountable."

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