Sunday, March 16, 2008

UCLA Hospital Workers Fired For Spears Medical Snooping

By Heather Chin (March 15, 2008)

Although no info was leaked to the press, several employees will either be fired or disciplined for unauthorized access to the pop star’s private info.

According to reports by the AP and the Los Angeles Times, more than 13 UCLA Medical Center employees will be fired for accessing the confidential medical records of Britney Spears, who was hospitalized twice at the center, most recently in the psychiatric ward.

The hospital’s director of human resources, Jeri Simpson, confirmed the confidentiality breach, but did not detail the exact number of employees involved, which of Spears’ files were looked at, or when they were accessed. However, the Times reported that those to be fired are various staff members, but that several others, including doctors, will be disciplined through other means.

The confidential records were accessed during Spears’ stay at the hospital in the psychiatric ward. However, the employees in question were only able to access her non-psychiatric records.

While there has been no evidence that any confidential information was leaked about Spears, whose personal life and every action is the focus of relentless tabloid attention, the snooping itself is a violation of state and federal privacy laws.

The Times reports that the Department of Public Health has opened an investigation into the hospital, where employees have previously accessed Spears’ files, back in September 2005, when she gave birth to her first son, Sean Preston.

In response to the new breach, Simpson stated that she feels “horrible” about the incident and the fact that it happened again is “is not only surprising, it’s very frustrating and disappointing.”

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