Corporate Compliance

Employees fired after snooping in news anchor's medical records

Healthcare Auditing Weekly, December 16, 2008

An Arkansas hospital fired six employees in October for illegally accessing patient medical records.
 
St. Vincent Health System fired the employees for accessing Little Rock morning television anchor Anne Pressly’s records while she was a patient at the company’s main hospital, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
 
A routine patient-privacy audit shower that as many as eight people gained access to her records improperly, the article stated. The eight employees were placed on leave during an investigation, which showed two of the employees had valid reason for accessing Pressly’s records.
 
Pressly was brought unconscious to the hospital after someone severely beat her in her home in Little Rock. She never regained consciousness and died on October 24.
 
HIPAA privacy rule violation complaints are generally directed to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the HHS. In this case, however, since the hospital dealt with the incident swiftly, the OCR will not likely take any further action.

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