UPMC worker improperly viewed private patient information
UPMC is alerting about 1,300 patients that a UPMC McKeesport employee not involved in their care inappropriately viewed their medical records, officials said Wednesday.
The unidentified employee, a unit coordinator in the emergency department, was fired, said UPMC spokeswoman Wendy Zellner.
UPMC officials said they notified federal authorities of the incident, which involved records viewed during the past year at several UPMC locations. The former employee was able to access patients' names, dates of birth, contact information, treatment and diagnosis information and Social Security numbers, officials said. Accessing such records is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal privacy law.
“We apologize for any concern or inconvenience that this may cause for our patients,” John Houston, UPMC's vice president of privacy and information security, said in a prepared statement. “I want to stress that patient care was never affected.”
UPMC became aware of the problem in early November when another employee alerted management. An internal investigation revealed the employee did not have a valid reason to view the records, even though she had authority to do so. The hospital system did not say which specific hospital records the employee viewed.
“The former employee reported to UPMC that she did not store this information or use it for financial gain,” Houston said.
UPMC is providing additional training to employees to avoid future problems, he said.
UPMC is sending letters to the affected patients. Those with questions should call UPMC's Office of Patient and Consumer Privacy at 412-647-6286.
Luis Fábregas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7998 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Undersized Beachum quietly excels at 1 of game’s pivotal positions
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu, Taylor unlikely to play, Harrison ‘ready’
- Michigan State defensive coordinator a Pitt coaching candidate
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Penguins’ defensive depth proves valuable
- Hotel building boom sweeps Pittsburgh region
- Giant Eagle Inc. appears to have settled ‘fuelperks!’ lawsuit
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Pitt’s acting athletic director is deft facilitator
- Port Authority fires two bus drivers involved in rollover crash