Allina Fires 32 for Records Snooping

Hospital Staffers Dismissed for Violating Privacy
Allina Fires 32 for Records Snooping
Allina Hospitals and Clinics has fired 32 employees for inappropriately looking at the electronic health records of patients involved in a recent mass drug overdose case.

Those dismissed by the Minnesota delivery system for violating privacy included 28 workers at Unity Hospital in Fridley and four at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. HIPAA prohibits healthcare workers from accessing the records of patients unless they're participating in their care.

Eleven teens and young adults were taken to the two hospitals March 17 after overdosing on the synthetic hallucinogen 2C-E at a party in Blaine, according to local news accounts. One of the youths died.

Allina spokesman David Kanihan stresses that the delivery system has consistently enforced its privacy policy by dismissing those who access records without a legitimate reason. "But this is larger in scope than other incidents we've had in the past," he says.

Every Allina employee receives training on the guidelines for when patient records can be accessed, he points out.

"We take our obligation to protect patient privacy very seriously," according to an Allina statement. "Anything short of a zero-tolerance approach to this issue would be inadequate."

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

Former News Editor, ISMG

Anderson was news editor of Information Security Media Group and founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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