Missouri hospital fires physician's assistant for accessing patient information

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An employee of a staff physician at Boone Hospital Center in Missouri was fired after inappropriately accessing patient information on the hospital network.

How many victims? Hospital officials believe about 125 patients were affected.

What type of personal information? Names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and treatment-related records, including prescribed treatments and diagnoses, are among the data that was accessed.

What happened? An employee of a staff physician inappropriately used credentials to access personal health information on the hospital network.

What was the response? An investigation was opened and, upon confirmation that the information was inappropriately accessed, the employee was fired. Affected patients were notified via mail and are being offered a free year of credit monitoring services.

Details: Hospital officials confirmed that information was accessed on Sept. 18, a couple of days after a patient called to report that she believed an employee inappropriately accessed her health information. The employee – who worked for a staff physician – was fired on Sept. 19. Affected patients began receiving letters around Oct. 16. Officials said it took a while to alert patients because the hospital was determining who exactly was impacted.

Quote: “The hospital and the practice cooperated on an immediate investigation and have taken appropriate action regarding the practice's employee,” said Jacob Luecke, a hospital spokesman. “Any patient whose record may have been accessed has been notified.”

Source: komu.com, KOMU 8, “Employee Abuses Access to Boone Hospital Patient Information,” Oct. 21, 2013.

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