KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif. Hospital System Pays To Settle Celebrity Privacy Case

The complaints were generated between 2005 to 2009, a time during which hospital employees were, in various instances, caught and fired for sneaking looks at celebrity medical records.

Los Angeles Times: UCLA Hospitals To Pay $865,500 For Breaches Of Celebrities' Privacy
UCLA Health System has agreed to pay $865,500 as part of a settlement with federal regulators announced Thursday after two celebrity patients alleged that hospital employees broke the law and reviewed their medical records without authorization. Federal and hospital officials declined to identify the celebrities involved. The complaints cover 2005 to 2009, a time during which hospital employees were repeatedly caught and fired for peeping at the medical records of dozens of celebrities, including Britney Spears, Farrah Fawcett and then-California First Lady Maria Shriver (Hennessy-Fiske, 7/8).

The Associated Press: Calif. Hospital System Settles Celeb Records Case
Years after hospital employees were accused of snooping into the medical records of celebrity patients, UCLA Health System agreed to pay an $865,000 settlement for potential violations of federal privacy laws. The settlement that UCLA reached with federal regulators Wednesday did not name the stars involved and did not require the hospital system to admit liability (7/8). 

ProPublica: UCLA Health System Pays $865,000 to Settle Celebrity Privacy Allegations
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, between 2005 and 2008, unauthorized UCLA employees repeatedly looked at the electronic files of numerous other patients, as well. "Employees must clearly understand that casual review for personal interest of patients' protected health information is unacceptable and against the law," said Georgina Verdugo, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (Ornstein, 7/7). 

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