State Investigates Patient Info Shared on Facebook

By Eric S. Page
|  Thursday, Jun 3, 2010  |  Updated 5:31 AM PDT
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State Investigates Patient Info Shared on Facebook

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Right now about 10,000 people in New York City are waiting for someone, most likely a stranger, to save their life.

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The state is investigating Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside after a possible breach of patient privacy.

The hospital is already looking into allegations dozens employees may have violated patient confidentiality by posting information on Facebook.

California Department of Public Health spokesperson Ralph Montano stated on Wedneday that the agency could not discuss any details of its investigation because it is still ongoing but did confirm that the agency did have a probe under way.
   
The main concern is the HIPAA (the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) privacy rule, which requires a patient to give permission before their private information is disclosed. It's unknown what information -- if any -- was disclosed by employees.

Courtney Berlin, the public hospital's spokesperson, told the North County Times last week that there had been no firings or suspensions after the Facebook allegations came to light but did tell the paper that the hospital was looking into the alleged incidents.

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