Hospital Will Fire Workers in Facebook Scandal

Nurses' Union rep says no nurses were terminated

Tri-City Medical Center said Monday that it intended to fire employees after looking into leaks of patient information.

Rumors swirled around Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside two weeks ago that some employees had been fired for sharing patient information on Facebook. The allegations, that dozens of employees may have violated patient confidentiality by posting information on the social networking site caught the attention of the state.

The California Department of Health launched an investigation last week.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Tri-City stated that five employees had been fired and one employee received a lesser form of disciplinary action. Later in the day, however, officials said that, in fact, the workers had not yet been terminated but that the medical center planned to do so.

“We recently identified an incident involving hospital employees who used social media to post their personal discussions concerning hospital patients,” said Tri-City Hospital CEO Larry Anderson in a prepared news release.

“The ongoing investigation has not yet identified any evidence that patient names, photographs or similar identifying information was posted by these employees,” Anderson went on to say.

Tri-City's about-face on Monday came in the wake of statements made by Max Carbuccia, who is a labor representative of the California Nurses Association, who said on Monday that none of the six employees mentioned in Tri-City's press release -- all of whom are nurses, according to Carbuccia -- were, in fact,  terminated. Carbuccia said that he spoke with the human resources department of Tri-City on Monday morning and said he was told there were no terminations. None of the nurses can be terminated without a public hearing, which hasn't happened yet, according to Carbuccia.

The hospital will re-emphasize hospital policy on patient privacy through employee training, Anderson said.

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