Health Professionals

Terminated for Accessing Confidential Electronic Health Records

Image by Pablo Ruiz Muzquiz

Three employees at the University Medical Center in Tucson were terminated for accessing the electronic health records (“EHR”) of a number of victims of last weekend’s shooting.  Nearly all hospitals employ electronic surveillance software that tracks which employees are accessing specific patient information.  This software is designed to make certain that only those giving direct care to the patient have access to the record.

All hospitals employ privacy policies that prohibit this behavior, however, it is inevitable that high profile patients will have their EHR viewed by hospital employees that are not directly giving them care.  Not only are these employees in violation of hospital policy, but they are also likely violating federal privacy laws that establish regulations for the use and disclosure of protected health information.

It is important that all health professionals in Arizona understand that viewing prohibited EHR will likely lead to termination and possibly discipline from their licensing board.  So, be careful and make certain you are only accessing records that you are authorized to view.

If you have a question about being terminated from a health care organization contact Arizona Attorney Robert Chelle.