CA Health Records Breaches Net $800,000 in Fines

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , November 22, 2010

Additionally, while the officer was at the employee's residence, a package arrived addressed to one of the residents.

5. Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, Kern County, received a $250,000 and a $60,000 fine.  In the first of two cases, a locker designated to hold daily cumulative lab reports and other patient medical information was placed outdoors and went unsecured for months and was never reported.  Staff discovered that records for 596 patients from Oct. 30, 2009 were missing, according to state documents.

The employee who was responsible for storing the reports said "he felt putting the patient information in an unsecured locker was not the right thing to do but did not report his concern to anyone else," according to state documents.

In the second case, a volunteer research assistant was asked by a physician to enroll an emergency room patient in their computer base, and noticed that the emergency contact for that patient was another staff member. The fact that the patient was in the hospital was relayed to that contact, who happened to be the patient's mother, as well as to a second staff member without authorization, state documents said.

6. Oroville Hospital in Oroville, Butte County, was fined $42,500 after an employee posted information about a patient on "My Space" that the patient had been admitted to the emergency room three times in one month. The employee was also observed by the patient's family member "talking on her personal cell phone and disclosing to a third party that (the patient) was in the emergency room," state documents said.


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