UMC Tucson Fires 3 for Privacy Breaches

Dom Nicastro, January 14, 2011

University Medical Center in Tucson has fired three clinical support staff members and a contracted nurse for "inappropriately accessing confidential medical records," the hospital reported on its website Wednesday.

The records were related to Saturday's shootings at a Tucson supermarket that killed six and wounded 13 -- including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D- AZ).

"We are not aware of any confidential patient information being released publicly," the hospital said in a statement.

This isn't the first snooper fired in the past year.

Mayo Clinic fired an employee who worked in a business center in Arizona for accessing nearly 2,000 patient medical and financial records over a four-year period, the Post-Bulletin of Rochester, MN, reported in September. The employee's access rights covered all Mayo Clinic patient records at all Mayo sites.

Officials discovered the breach in mid-July. They did not release the name of the healthcare worker.

"This activity took place between 2006 and 2010. An internal investigation was immediately launched. Following a thorough review of the facts, the person was fired," according to a Mayo statement.

Dom Nicastro Dom Nicastro is a contributing writer. He edits the Medical Records Briefings newsletter and manages the HIPAA Update Blog.
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