Pages of Confidential List of HIV-Positive People Missing From Health Department in Palm Beach County, Fla.
About 15 pages from a confidential list of HIV-positive people have been missing from the Palm Beach County Health Department for more than two months, according to a state investigative report released on Friday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. The pages disappeared on Feb. 2 from the desk of statistical analyst Deborah McCray, who was updating a list of HIV/AIDS patients, and have not been found, according to the report. Florida law requires health departments to keep lists of the names of HIV-positive people but keep them confidential out of concern over discrimination. The missing pages are unrelated to two earlier incidents regarding a breach of privacy among HIV/AIDS patients in the county, according to health department spokesperson Tim O'Connor (LaMendola, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/16). A health department employee on Feb. 17 inadvertently e-mailed a confidential list containing the names of about 6,500 HIV-positive people in the county, and in March 12 HIV-positive people in the county received an anonymous letter claiming their names were obtained through the confidential list (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/17). "This incident was an isolated mistake, and we have taken steps to correct the situation," O'Connor said, adding that he does not know whether the pages have been leaked to the public. The health department office where each of the problems occurred is being reorganized, O'Connor said. Since February, one office employee has been demoted and another has been dismissed, the Sun-Sentinel reports (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.