5 Calif. Hospitals Fined $675K for Privacy Breaches

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regulators have fined five hospitals $675,000 for invasions of patient privacy.

Among the hospitals that were fined is the Community Hospital of San Bernardino, which was fined $250,000 for failing to prevent unauthorized access to 204 patients’ medical information by one employee and an additional $75,000 for failing to prevent unauthorized access to three patients’ medical data by another employee.

Additionally, Rideout Memorial Hospital (Marysville, Calif.) has been fined $100,000 for the data breach where 17 security officers viewed personal health data of 33 patients. The officers used the hospital’s computers, according to BND.com.

Other hospital’s facing a penalty includes Enloe Medical Center (fined $130,000), Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (fined $95,000) and San Joaquin Community Hospital (fined $25,000).

Each facility has 10 days to submit a plan of correction to the health department and implement changes to prevent future incidents.

Despite privacy concerns, the push toward electronic records persists – motivated by the need for efficiency, cost savings and patient safety. The federal government has allocated $36 billion in stimulus funds to help pay for health information systems.

Furthermore, Sutter Health, a major health care provider in Sacramento, has invested as much as $1 billion in the system, including $400 million over the next five years.

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