50 employees fired for accessing actor Jussie Smollett’s medical record

March 15, 2019
Medicare Web

At least 50 employees of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago were fired for accessing the medical record of actor Jussie Smollett without authorization, reports NBC Chicago.

On January 29, Smollett, known for his role on the TV show “Empire,” was brought to the hospital and treated for bruises and lacerations after he reported to the police that he had been attacked by two masked men who put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

A surgical nurse who spoke to NBC Chicago said she was fired for violating HIPAA after searching for Smollett in the hospital’s electronic charting system. Another nurse, who was not fired, stated that employees were fired from various locations in the Northwestern system, and they were told that every employee who accessed Smollett’s information in violation of HIPAA was terminated.

The spokesman from Northwestern stated that he could not discuss the situation due to company policy to not comment on employment status.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule allows for protected patient information, like medical records, to be disclosed by covered entities (CE) for the purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations, and requires that CEs take steps to limit the disclosure of such information to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose (see 45 CFR 164.502(b), 164.514(d)).

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