Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

23 Employees: Farrah Fawcett and Patient Privacy, Part 2

California health regulators fined Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower hospital $250,000 Thursday for failing to keep 23 employees from snooping in the medical records of Nadya Suleman, the mother who set off a media frenzy after giving birth to octuplets in January.

The fine is the first monetary penalty imposed and largest allowed under a new state law enacted last year after widely publicized violations of privacy at UCLA Medical Center involving Farrah Fawcett, Britney Spears, California First Lady Maria Shriver and other celebrities.

The breaches involving Farrah's medical records -- first reported by The Los Angeles Times in April 2008 -- enraged California lawmakers and prompted the new law. In Farrah's case, a low-level UCLA employee accessed her records more often than her own doctors. The employee pleaded guilty last year to federal felony charges of selling the information to the National Enquirer.

Farrah said recently that she had suspected that hospital staff were leaking her records. To test that, she delayed telling her family about a specific recent diagnosis – until after it was leaked to the press – proof that an employee had been snooping.

Advice to people concerned about privacy: Ask your doctor to sign this form by the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation.

Read last year's story about Farrah.

Thanks to Charles Ornstein for the source story in the May 15 issue of the Los Angeles Times.

No comments: