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Files breached at UCLA Medical Center

April 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
California first lady Maria Shriver is among 32 celebrities and high-profile patients that had their confidential records breached at UCLA Medical Center, medical officials said.The woman responsible is the same employee who sneaked into actress Farrah Fawcett's medical records, officials told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

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That worker was fired in May 2007 after UCLA learned of the widespread breaches, the hospital said.

Her snooping was not confined to high-profile patients. During 2006 and 2007, the woman improperly looked at 61 patient's medical records, according to state and local medical officials.

The head of the UCLA Hospital System, Dr. David Feinberg, apologized for the breaches and said the woman behind them had been a "rogue" employee.

The secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, Kim Belshe, said Sunday that her agency is "very concerned about what appears to be a pattern of repeated violations."

The state will be taking action against UCLA, she said.

UCLA did not let state officials know about the breaches last year. Kathleen Billingsley of the Center for Healthcare Quality said a state investigator on Friday came across a document with the names of those patients affected.

The snooping into Fawcett's medical records became public on Wednesday. That news came a few weeks after the hospital announced that several employees were fired for peeking at pop star's Britney Spears' files.

After being informed that his wife's confidential medical records had been inappropriately accessed, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement saying that "a breach of any patient's medical records is outrageous."

Schwarzenegger said he called on his administration to act after the Spears case became public last month.

Fawcett's leaked information about her recurring battle with cancer appeared in the National Enquirer. But Feinberg said the hospital found no evidence any other confidential medical information was shared inappropriately.

 

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