UCLA Medical Center To Face Sanctions After Patient Data Breaches
On Monday, Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kim Belshé said UCLA Medical Center will be sanctioned after hospital employees improperly accessed more than 60 patient records, including those of California first lady Maria Shriver, the New York Times reports.
Roxanne Moster, a spokesperson for UCLA Medical Center, said the center began an investigation into the breached patient files when actress Farrah Fawcett's lawyers notified hospital officials that they feared her medical records had been leaked to tabloid newspapers.
The hospital did not notify HHSA because officials thought it was only obligated under state law to notify the agency of medical errors, Moster said.
The medical center could be fined or have its license revoked, and the state's findings could be referred to law enforcement, the Times reports (Steinhauer, New York Times, 4/8).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday said that his administration will push hospitals to adopt new protections for patient records. He added, "It's not just UCLA ... This kind of thing has been happening all over the state, wherever there are celebrities involved" (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 4/7).
Schwarzenegger also said that "everyone's medical history ought to be protected." He added, "That is the responsibility of the hospital, and so we're going to go work with them to find a way so that we can help them protect everyone's files."
Schwarzenegger also said that his patient records have been breached during previous hospital visits (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 4/8).
KPCC's "AirTalk" on Monday included a discussion with Times reporter Charles Ornstein about the medical records breach (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 4/7).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.