Doctors not punished as severely as non-physicians in UCLA file-snooping HIPAA violations case

The following is an excerpt from an article originally published in the Los Angeles Times:

LOS ANGELES – Doctors who snooped into the medical records of pop star Britney Spears got off easier than non-physicians at UCLA hospitals, according to a published report.

The 13 non-physician staffers who improperly viewed Spears’ record were “suspended, dismissed, resigned or retired,” the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site Friday night.

But of the eight physicians who perused the singer’s records, three were suspended and five were reprimanded.

None of the doctors were fired.

“I can’t speculate as to why,” said Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director for the health department’s Center for Healthcare Quality.

The state health department’s findings were released in two reports Friday, and have been forwarded to city, county, state and federal authorities for possible prosecution and monetary penalties.

UCLA officials say physicians are overseen by their peers, while other employees are subject to the decisions of human resources. The public university also pledged to create a high-level committee to review policy and ensure fair disciplinary procedures, and improve computer systems in an effort to increase the security of patient records.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Life in West Tennessee wrote an interesting post today on Doctor’s not punished as severely as non-physicians in UCLA file-snooping HIPPA violations caseHere’s a quick excerptLOS ANGELES – Doctors who snooped into the medical records of pop star Britney Spears got off easier than non-physicians at UCLA hospitals, according to a published r eport…. […]

  2. Perhaps you would like to know that after 33 yrs and 11 mos I was fired due to a HIPAA violation. If you would like to know all the details I would be happy expose this witch hunt in which senior employees (who the enterprise would like to replace with less expensive, less educated “yes men”). The union which represents us appears to be in on this also, as there is only one person representing approximately 165 of us. It is my contention that this law is being used to dump older employees when economic reasons cannot be used (the only other legal way to rid the enterprise of an unwanted employee). In the process, we are being defamed, blackballed, and barred from ever working for the University of CA, or any of its contractors to the third level-FOREVER!! The worst part is that the grievance process only involves the original management involved in the first place. It is illegal and immoral and has been allowed to happen, in order to victimize innocent people who regularly handle VIP patients on a daily basis. In my case, I make appts for our dept. and handle almost all of our VIP pts due to my expertise. Due to a new chief administrative officer (incompetent, I might add) who took an instant dislike to me, all this has happened. Our dept has been kept in the dark – basically, I just vanished from work one day and never returned. This type of treatment should never occur at any place or employment, let alone one that is paid for by tax payers. I am a good honest person who has protected the patients – all of them, and done my best to be an excellent patient advocate. It is ridiculous that all of the doctors involved have not been punished, when in fact some of them gossip like little girls and actually did access people’s private records for other than clinical reasons. Welcome to the UCLA Medical Center Enterprise.

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