California issues first fine for patient privacy violations

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 1, 2009

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The California Dept. of Public Health issued a $250,000 fine against Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center for not taking adequate precautions to protect the privacy of Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to octuplets at the facility in January. It was the first fine under a California state law that took effect Jan. 1.

The law permits the state to fine health care facilities and practices $25,000 for the first breach of a medical record and $17,500 for each additional violation with a $250,000 cap.

A state report found that 21 employees and two physicians inappropriately accessed Suleman's medical records. The hospital reported the breach in February, and announced it fired one worker and accepted resignations from 14 others. Eight employees were reprimanded.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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