December 7, 2016: Flagship Adventist Health facility Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) fired a nurse on December 2 due to a serious privacy breach involving hundreds of patient medical records.
The privacy breach of 528 patient records was not limited to GAMC but also included 88 records at a sister Adventist Health hospital, White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.
The nurse was working at GAMC on a per diem basis and was not authorised to access the records.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the privacy violation was discovered last June during a routine security review. Additional investigation confirmed that the breach was committed by an employee and not by an external hacking operation.
“Our patients are our top priority and privacy is a critical part of our commitment to patient care,” hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said in an email. “We sincerely apologize for any impact this incident may have on patients affected.”
As the investigation into the incident is still active, officials say there is a chance that information accessed includes sensitive information like the name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and diagnosis of the patient. As the investigation has not yet been completed, the motive for the breach has not yet been disclosed.
The penalty for this kind of privacy breach can include one year in prison and may include fines of up to $50,000.