State Report Finds More People Involved in UCLA Data Breaches
A report by the California Department of Public Health found that 14 additional people affiliated with UCLA Medical Center inappropriately accessed patients' medical records, bringing the total number of people implicated in the case to 68, the Los Angeles Times reports. DPH sent the report to UCLA on Friday.
The case centers on UCLA-affiliated workers who accessed celebrities' and co-workers' electronic medical records outside of the scope of their jobs, in violation of federal medical privacy laws and UCLA policies.
Four of the fourteen people cited in the report are physicians.
Lawanda Jackson, a former administrative specialist at UCLA Medical Center, has drawn much of the attention in the investigation, and the Times reports that the key findings of DPH's most recent report center largely on Jackson.
The report does not identify Jackson, other implicated workers or the celebrities whose records were breached, but the Times reports that it has confirmed their identities.
Jackson has been indicted for allegedly selling information from medical records to the news media and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Jackson is alleged to have improperly accessed the records of 61 patients, including co-workers, actress Farrah Fawcett and other celebrities.
Earlier state investigations found that UCLA employees and affiliated workers improperly accessed the medical records of pop star Britney Spears.
In response to the breaches, UCLA officials have:
- Tasked a high-level committee with reviewing privacy policies at the medical center;
- Promised to retrain staff; and
- Pledged to update computer systems to boost security protections.
Kathleen Billingsley, director of DPH's Center for Healthcare Quality, said that the state would work with UCLA to address the problems but declined to elaborate on what the next steps would be.
State officials in the past have raised the possibility of sanctions or other penalties against UCLA (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 5/13). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.