Los Angeles Medical Privacy: UCLA fined $95,000 for privacy breaches

Los Angeles Medical Privacy: UCLA fined $95,000 for privacy breaches

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06/14/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Los Angeles, CA—A $95,000 fine has been levied against Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for allowing unauthorized employees to view a patient’s medical records. Sources have indicated one of the multiple medical record breaches involved Michael Jackson’s records, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The California Department of Public Health announced the penalties on Thursday, June 10, 2010, which led to the firing of two hospital employees and two hospital contract workers for accessing the same patient’s information. UCLA has often struggled with protecting the privacy of its celebrity patients like Britney Spears, Farah Fawcett and Maria Shriver.

According to a source close to the Michael Jackson case, his legal counsel was contacted by UCLA officials, which informed them that the pop star’s medical files had been improperly accessed following his untimely death.

The state report indicated the breaches began June 30, 2009, just five days after Michael Jackson passed away. The patient’s family was immediately notified after the breaches were found, and an internal investigation was launched. The investigation found that no information had been sold.

The employees could face criminal charges and fines. State officials would not identify the patient or if the person was a celebrity.

The hospital does not plan to appeal the fine.

UCLA stated, “they have made a determined effort to train and test…employees on patient privacy laws and implemented a wide range of safeguards to ensure patient confidentiality over the last three years.”

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for California health care attorneys.

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