Fawcett kept quiet to find the source of the leak
(photo from Comedy Roast of William Shatner)
UCLA is fined $95,000 for violating patient privacy
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been fined $95,000 by state officials for failing to prevent unauthorized employees from accessing patient information, the latest in a series of privacy breaches at the prestigious hospital that has struggled to protect the medical information of its celebrity patients.
The fine, one of five privacy-related penalties announced by the state Thursday, is tied to multiple violations of the same patient's records and led to the firing of two employees. Two other people who accessed the patient's information were contracted by a firm that works at the hospital, UCLA officials said.
On Sept. 7, hospital officials reported that they had discovered a second breach of the same patient's records by two additional employees, both contract workers with the hospital's pathology billing service, according to the report. One accessed the patient's records on June 30 and July 9, the other only on July 9, the hospital reported.
In an interview with state investigators, hospital staff said they had spoken with the contract employees after the breach was discovered and that they "admitted inappropriate access, they were curious."
The fines issued Thursday came under a state law enacted in 2008 after widely publicized violations of patient privacy at UCLA involving Fawcett, singer Britney Spears, California First Lady Maria Shriver and other celebrities.
The issue of unauthorized people looking at the electronic records of celebrities has vexed the state. In 2009, California health regulators issued the first penalty under the privacy law, fining Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower hospital $437,500 for failing to prevent employees from snooping in the medical records of Nadya Suleman after she gave birth to octuplets.
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