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Wyo. hospital fights snooping

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 22, 2007

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Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyo., has fired one employee, suspended two others and reprimanded four more after the hospital said they were caught looking at patient records.

The hospital cited HIPAA privacy regulations as precipitating its actions. The hospital said the employees had looked at patient records without authorization and that curiosity was the apparent motivation.

Other employees came forward to say they had looked at their own records, but those employees were not reprimanded. Instead, the hospital reminded employees that they cannot look at any records, even their own, unless authorized to do so.

HIPAA experts are split over whether the hospital should have such a rule, saying HIPAA allows patients access to their own records. But they said hospitals and practices are within their rights to tell employees that they must go through proper channels to see their records.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2007/10/22/bibf1022.htm.

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