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    Associated Press: California fines Kaiser for violating Suleman’s privacy

    The Associated Press reports that the California Department of Public Health has issued a fine for breaches of a woman’s medical privacy rights, the first such fine for a hospital under a patient privacy law passed last year. I have written before about hospital employees snooping in the files of celebrities.

    The state fined Kaiser Permanente $250,000 Thursday for violating patient privacy laws when several hospital employees inappropriately accessed medical records for octuplet mother Nadya Suleman.

    Kaiser spokesman Jim Anderson said the hospital did not expect the reprimand, noting that Kaiser reported the violations to the state in February and punished nearly two dozen employees.

    “Clearly, we share the concern” about patient privacy, Anderson told The Associated Press. He said Kaiser had warned employees at its Bellflower facility about keeping away from Suleman’s records but “curiosity got the better of some of the people who violated our policies.”

    The California Department of Public Health found the hospital did not do enough to prevent the violations. A state report said 21 employees and two physicians inappropriately accessed Suleman’s files. Fifteen people were fired or forced to resign, and another eight received undisclosed reprimands.

    The fine is the first against a California hospital under a law passed in 2008 designed to protect patient privacy and address breaches of confidential information, the department said in a release.

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